3/09/2006

Oklahoma Wineries and Wholesalers Battle Continues

Farmers and Families vs. Corporate Lies

Wine and spirits wholesalers in Oklahoma have taken legal action to fight the US Supreme Court decision to allow direct shipping from out-of-state wineries. The wine & spirits wholesalers: Central Liquor Co., Jarboe Sales Company and Action Wholesale Liquor Company all seek to prevent the deregulation of wine in Oklahoma. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision determined that wines should be allowed the same Direct Shipping rights as other industries.

The corporate liquor lobby groups say that deregulation would make Oklahoma law enforcement incapable of enforcing state law. Oklahoma’s state government has regulated the distribution of alcohol since 1959 under a system of licenced wholesalers and retailers. The wholesalers believe their efforts have made Oklahoma the symbol of responsible alcohol use in America.

Obviously, the liquor wholesalers are completely full of crap.

Their view that Oklahoma law enforcement would be unable to ensure that tax is collected on wine imported into the state is a laughable idea. Internet sales of all kinds of products in Oklahoma are growing by leaps and bounds everyday. Now the liquor lobby wants to argue that the risk of folks not paying their taxes, means consumers should not be allow to shop on the internet.

The claim that the increase in the number of Oklahoma businesses importing alcohol directly from out of state could prevent the police from enforcing the law is insulting to Oklahoma police officers, Oklahoma ciizens and Oklahoma businessmen. If you are an Oklahoma police officer that cannot enforce the law without the help of Liquor Wholesalers, please drop me a line.

If you think corporate wholesaler liquor distributors are LESS likely to cheat on their taxes than other businesses - you are just the kind of sucker the liquor lobby is searching for. Run for office and you can expect massive kick backs from special interest groups like theirs.

However, once they have built their lucrative monopolies, at the expense of honest, hard-working, family wineries, their zeal for tax law enforcement will be shown for the farce it is.

Think about what you can legally buy over the internet today and have direct shipped to your home. This year we did most of our Christmas shopping over the net, yet no Grinch has been accused of stealing the tax dollars. My boss sold his $11,000 RV over the internet. Much of my family purchases all of their presecription drugs over the internet and has them Direct Shipped to their homes.

Since the Lion's Share of all internet wine sales are done via credit card there is a clear audit trail with sales taxes often recorded by the credit card clearing houses.

Don't buy the lie, buy Oklahoma wines and let your representatives know you will be watching them!

This year the Oklahoma legislature will seek statutory and constitutional changes to our liquor laws in Oklahoma. The distributors hope to ensure that the only alcohol related jobs that survive in Oklahoma are that of liquor store clerk. Despite a monopoly in Oklahoma that reaches back to the 50's, they still refuse to promote Oklahoma's wines, prefering to deal with massive out of state corporations and backroom deal making.

If, like me, you envision and Oklahoma wine industry that eventually rivals Texas or California. If your want good income for both family wineries and Oklahoma vineyards and the opportunites that would provide our children - support honest reform.

If you think that the corporate liquor wholesaler lobby has EVER done anything to improve the lot of Oklahoma youth, farmers or tax payers then by all means - support their efforts to limit consumer choice.

Danny Morgan has long supported Oklahoma's farmers and family winemakers. Clearly he has more faith in our state's ability to enforce the law. A recent measure by Oklahoma Representative Danny Morgan calls for a statewide vote to amend the Constitution to permit winemakers to ship wine directly to consumers. It also would authorize wineries to receive orders for their products in written or electronic form. Currently, winemakers may only sell wine to consumers at wineries where wine is produced. His measure now goes to the state House floor for a vote.

If you think a free market provides more justice, quality and choice for Oklahoma citizens - then support your local family grape growers and winemakers. To stay up-to-date on this issue, stay tuned to the Oklahoma Wine News blog, OklahomaWines.org and Free the Grapes! Stae Rep. Danny Morgan thinks the voters of Oklahoma should decide this issue, how about you?

KOTV - State House Panel Approves Bill To Help Oklahoma Wineries

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

How much wine is actually grown in Oklahoma and how much is imported and then sold as Oklahoma wine?

Thomas said...

To my knowledge there are no official statistics on how much wine is made in Oklahoma vs. imported. However, the Oklahoma winemakers I have met are mostly folks who love to make wine. Today, the opportunities in the Oklahoma winemaking business are limited by the constant risk of increasing regulatory burdens. This serves to keep out all but the most enthusiastic winemakers.

For example, my Dad started making wine back in the 60's, just for the joy of learning the process and sharing his wine with friends. He taught himself how to make a wide variety of unique wines, many made from non-traditional, locally available fruits. When the Oklahoma voters decided to open the market just enough for him to legally make and sell Oklahoma wine to his neighbors, he jumped at the chance to risk his retirement savings on creating an Oklahoma winery.

Before Nuyaka Creek Winery could even complete construction of their facilities, Oklahoma liquor wholesalers began pouring their profits into buying our state legislators and crying out for the courts to protect their monopoly.

Basically, if you don't like making Oklahoma wine, you would be crazy to open an Oklahoma winery today.

No major corporations will touch this corrupt market. A real corporate winery expects to be able to sell their product globally and not be bound to provide 20 percent of their revenues to a parasitic group of 'distributors' that are bent on the destruction of their entire industry.