LETTER- Wine story one-sided
When you quote those from the Virginia farm winery industry as they accuse "wholesalers" of being too rich [February 2: "Out-lobbied: Wholesalers hogtie wineries"], I would suggest that you check into how much that industry (Virginia farm wineries) has contributed to the political process in Virginia over the last few years. I would point out that one individual within that industry contributed more than the entire Virginia Wine Wholesalers Association did.
Wine and beer wholesalers in Virginia are family-owned companies too, and provide thousands of jobs and pay thousands of dollars in taxes. We are not the enemy. We did not create this mess.
It was the wine industry that brought a multitude of court cases in this country that have resulted in this problem for the wineries in Virginia.
First, they wanted the right to sell wine directly to the consumer, and we worked with the farm wineries to make that a reality a couple years ago.
Do you realize that Virginia farm wineries have been given every advantage and exemption you can imagine, to help them succeed? They can be the manufacturer, the wholesaler, and they also can retail.
Yes, they can retail– they can currently have a retail license at their winery plus five remote licenses. But that was not good enough.
Now, they want to open the door to allowing manufacturers (vintners) to sell direct to retail licensees– which, over time, would force my beer and wine distribution company out of business.
Our industry wants the same thing that the wineries in Virginia want, to sell more Virginia wine. It is unfortunate, however, that we are being depicted as the bad guys in this conflict. That is not the case.
Blue Ridge Beverage Co., Inc.