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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dan Maffei backtracks on his support for bill that crushes the local wine industry

Via Wham 13
Big Hat Tip to Evan Dawson

Wham 13 recently did a great interview exposing Congressman Dan Maffei's sponsorship of HR 5034; a bill that seriously threatens local small wineries.  Local wineries rely heavily on selling their product directly to consumers via tasting rooms.  The bill, originally co-sponsored by Maffei, intends on enforcing the three tiered system which would mean that vineyards would have to close their store fronts and sell to distributors instead.  Clearly, such a proposal would be detrimental to the local economy and tourism.

Maffei's interview with Evan Dawson below.

The bill HR 5034, was written by the beer industry lobby.  Since prohibition and the establishment of the three tiered system in NY, beer companies have enjoyed a competitive advantage being the only type of alcohol that can be purchased in grocery stores.  With the popularity of local wine tours, the beer industry has viewed local growers as a threat to that legislative advantage.  No surprise Maffei, who's only accomplishment since his election is his fundraising, is one of the beer industry's top contribution recipients.

Below is a snippet of Evan Dawson's blog post on the topic:

Congressman Dan Maffei is a member of the Congressional Wine Caucus, but that doesn't mean he's taking the wine industry's side on a highly controversial bill. HR 5034 - which was written by beer wholesalers - could essentially wipe out wineries' ability to sell directly to customers while strengthening the three-tier system. Direct wine purchasing (from winery to consumer) is directly on the line in this bill. Small wineries that do not use a distributor are already predicting that the bill's passage would result in their demise, as they would lose a major avenue for interacting with customers.


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