Monday, October 25, 2010

What happens when you "Deregulate"?

I live in TN.  The winery laws here have kept many small wineries (or really any wineries) out of our state for years.  The TN Wine and Spirits Wholesalers have a stranglehold on the legislature.  In some cases, our laws go back all the way to prohibition in the way they were written.  Our state presently has 41 wineries.  Our wine industry brings in about $90 Million a year.  Let's look at TN's archaic laws:
-TN requires winemakers to use at least 75% of grapes grown in the state (this was recently overruled by the Sixth Circuit Court in OH, however)
- TN does not allow its wineries to sell to retailers or restaurants.  Sales are only through the wholesale chain, which adds a great deal of cost, keeping most small wineries out of the loop
- There is a cap on yearly production.
- Wine is not sold in grocery stores, only liquor stores.

Now let's show you Exhibit B:  North Carolina.  North Carolina is very comparable to TN,  in population, in geography, and in many other ways.  But NC has 112 wineries as of this year, and their wine industry is worth $900 Million a year.  Let's now look at NC's laws:
- NC requires only 5% of grapes be sourced from within the state.
- NC allows the sale of wine made at its wineries directly to restaurants, grocery stores, and wholesale distribution
-There is a very high or no cap on yearly production
- Wine is sold in grocery stores, wholesale clubs, etc.

So it's not just about supporting small wineries.  It's about bringing jobs and taxes to your state.  And that's all I've heard for the past month now that it's election season.

So be sure to vote!  And get to know your legislators.  Even though I am politically independent, I was a huge fan of Ronald Reagan.  One of his best quotes ever....

"Government's view of the economy is simple:  If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it.  If it stops moving, subsidize it."

How true.

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