Economic Exploitation or Discriminatory Regulation

Wine blogger Pat Baude has posted a fascinating article on historic and present day alcohol prohibition on his excellent wine blog: Full2Bung.

I suggest, in short, that a central fact of Prohibition was that it
therefore regulated identity, not behavior. As such, it was an act of cultural violence to the minority rather than an ordinary law regulating behavior.

A comparable contemporary act would be an English-only law which made it a crime to speak any other language – a step no nativist organization, so far as I know, has yet even proposed. - Full2Bung

Pat presents some very interesting insights into the a way forward for U.S. wine shipping laws in the light of the recent court rulings on the subject. Stop by his blog and check out the whole article.

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Cabin Creek Offers Two May Events

Head up to Big Cabin, Oklahoma this May for two great Oklahoma wine events.

Annual Blessing of the Vines at Cabin Creek My 12, 2007
Cost: $12.00

Mother's Day Brunch at Cabin Creek May 13
Cost: $24.95



Stone Bluff Wine Festival Oct 13, 2007

Picture 025
Originally uploaded by helemax.
The 8th Annual Wine Festival in Haskell

Haskell, Oklahoma October 13th, 2007
10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

A day in the country for the whole family!
· Artists and Crafts
· Great Food
· Wine Tours
· Wine Tasting
· Juice Tasting
· Grape Stomping
· Music….fun fun fun!

Cost: $10 for ages 21 and older, $5 for ages 13-20 and free for children 12 and younger.


Girl’s Night Out This Saturday

Hey Ladies!

Want to begin Spring Break with some relaxation time? Tidal School Vineyards in Drumright is hosting a Girl’s Night Out on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. The event will feature live music from Jim and Connie King and gourmet hors d’oeuvres and cooking demonstrations by Chef Lanney, a 5-star Creole and Cajun chef from Oklahoma City.

The event will also include wine tasting, a chocolate fountain, chair massages and prize and wine giveaways.Women attending Girls Night Out will also be served winearitas, which are drinks like margaritas or daiquiris, but made with wine, said Tonia Greening, the assistant tasting room manager at the Tidal School Vineyards. Because alcohol will be served at the event, women must be 21 or older to attend. Those planning to attend must buy tickets in advance.

Tickets cost $24.95 or $34.95, which includes a 10-minute chair massage. Reservations can be made online at http://www.tidalschool.com or by calling (866)258-1903.

VinSense Aims to Open Local Wine Markets

Originally uploaded by s2art.

March 2, 2007

Hoosier Consumers Launch VinSense, Inc.
Grass-Roots Organization aims to Open Hoosier Market to Wines.

What would you think of a law that would send you to jail for ordering the wrong brand of cheese, bread, chocolate or coffee? That is precisely the situation we have in Indiana with regard to another gustatory pleasure: wine.

"We have, in this state, the vestiges of Prohibition, and it's called the three-tier system" says Dr. Allen Dale ("Ole") Olson. "As a result, we pay far too much for a poor selection of this healthful beverage. The Hoosier consumer is being taken to the cleaners, with the blessing of our legislators".

Ole developed a fine palate in his years working for the Defense Department in Europe. "We've come such a long way in this country in the appreciation of wine and food. It is a shame that we preach the gospel of free markets abroad, but squelch it at home" he says.

Ole and several enophiles have formed an Indiana not-for-profit corporation by the name of VinSense, Inc., to advocate for direct shipping in Indiana. "The three-tier system has been toppled in the majority of states, and it's only a matter of time before its swept away by market forces in Indiana as well" says Robert VanVleet, one of the organizers of VinSense and its first Treasurer. "Eighty-five percent of our population now lives with a free market. When I moved here from California, I was just amazed to see that it's illegal here to buy wines online. Why is that? Its just plain stupid" he says.

Stupid, yes. But also very profitable-for some. "The three-tier system consists of producers, wholesalers and retailers. The producers must sell to the wholesalers, and no one else. The retailers must buy from the wholesalers, and no one else. That creates a de facto monopoly for the wholesalers. They get to decide what we can drink in this state, and how much we're going to pay for it. Of late, the wholesalers have been writing our laws, too" says a frustrated Louis Melillo, Vice President.

Melillo and the other founders of VinSense have no illusions. "It won't be easy prying this privileged class from the public trough. They've been buying friends in the legislature for decades" he says wryly. "Our first objective is to educate the Hoosier consumer. Anyone who really understands this system will be outraged. When enough consumers get outraged, the politicians will finally listen". VinSense has an ambitious goal of attracting 10,000 members in its first year of existence.

The facts speak for themselves. Of all the wineries in the world, Indiana wholesalers will let Indiana consumers taste from fewer than five percent of them. "That's not a free market" says Ole. "In fact, that's not much of a market at all. Someone in Indianapolis doesn't need to tell me that I'm headed to jail for picking the wrong pinot noir".

The organization has launched a new website: www.vinsense.org. "It's irreverent, factual, and blunt. If our website were a wine, I'd definitely describe it as a 'Rhone Ranger'" says Ole.

Dr. Allen Dale Olson, President

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Movies About Wine

Oklahoma Grapes
Originally uploaded by FreeWine.
I watched Mondovino last night. I usually watch all of the wine movies I hear about, because there really are not that many available. Also, I am geeky enough to love a good documentary film. Still, the wine movies mostly suck and they have an awful tendency to be advertised as wine movies, but actually turn out to be ‘Chick Flicks’ trying to fly in under the radar. Neither of the wine movies reviewed below are Chick Flicks.


Mondovino is a 2004 documentary film about the wine industry and the incredible egos that are apparently required to make critically acclaimed wines. It also explores some slightly interesting side points suggesting the world has lost the art of appreciating fine wines, due to Mondavi-driven American style winemaking focused on the flavor imparted by new wood wine cask rather than the individual 'terroir', or region-specific quality, that gives each wine its personality.

Many of the critics who raved on this seemed to enjoy the exploration into topics like America's ongoing effort to protect globalization, corporatization and deforestation from the evil forces of communism and community activism. I normally find discussion of these topics somewhat interesting but this Blair-Witch-Project and Grapes-of-Wrath hybrid never actually makes any points. This takes some of the drama out of the debate. To make up for that lacking feature, you are provided by several long, loving camera shots of the sky directly above the heads of the people interviewed.

Like most critically acclaimed movies...I was bored nearly unto death by Mondovino. Like many artsy flicks there were almost no fine women, no car chases, no action and no real resolution at the end. In my opinion, that is far too much like life to make a good movie. On the bright side, I found the soundtrack fairly entertaining. I watched this insomnia cure because my folks own an Oklahoma winery. I thought there might be some valuable winemaking info for them in the movie. If you are looking for winemaking information on the order of 'you must be a poet to make a great wine', then this is the movie for you.

There is an examination of several of the world's most wealthy wine families. As I listened to their elitist’s views, that often sounded like neo-nazi propaganda, I kept getting this creepy feeling like I was at a Dog Show or something. It is spooky being around a huge crowd of people trying to stamp out variation in favor of a view of ideal purity that conveniently fills their pockets at that same time that it demonstrates how civilized they are compared to their competitors. When I saw the movie Best in Show, I got the same feeling but at least they made a joke of it.

Mondovino is cheaply made, another thing that the critics seem to love. I personally find motion sickness inducing, handheld camera shots and the use of three different languages more annoying than creative. Thankfully, they have included subtitles for the long sections of French and Italian in this movie, but closed-captions for the hearing impaired was apparently 'a bridge too far'.


The Academy Award-winning wine movie Sideways came out the same year. It is widely regarded as the best wine movie of all time because it made the producers of Pinot Noir based wines a really fantastic amount of money.

Although more entertaining than Mondovino, there is still plenty to dislike about Sideways. I have to warn you that there is a very gratuitous full male nude scene in Sideways that is certain to surprise and offend many folks. However, if you can stomach that, you do get to see Sandra Oh deliver a well-deserved beating to a jerk and a few other very funny scenes. During the movie one main character teaches the other the basics of wine tasting as well as introductory snobbery and the value of wine in the aid of enduring long periods of forced celibacy.

Strangely, the main character in the movie spends a lot of time disparaging wines made with the Merlot grape. Since this is without a doubt my favorite wine grape, I could not help but be shocked and appalled to hear such an unpalatable character ripping on such an oh-so palatable wine.

Both movies are available via DVD now, as they floated to the top of my Blockbuster Online Queue. If you have seen a wine movie that doesn’t suck, leave me a comment on my blog.

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Drumright Oklahoma Grape Pruning Event March 17

Speaking of Wine Grape Pruning Events...

Join the folks at Tidal School Vineyards in Drumright on Saturday, March 17 at 10:00 AM for a pruning party and Bistro Lunch. Learn how to prune the vines and spend an hour and half actually working in the vineyard. Pruning wine grapes late in the winter while the vines are still asleep gives them a powerful stimulus to grow better and produce better wine grapes.

This vineyard experience includes demonstration training, work, a bistro lunch, a glass of wine, and a souvenir wine glass for you to take home with you. $10.95 Advance seating reservations are required, so call toll free 866 258 1903 or order online today! www.tidalschool.com

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Grape Pruning Event Saturday March 10

Learn to Care For Wine Grape Vines

Grand Wine Country is hosting a grape pruning seminar by Andy Allen from Missouri State University this Sat., March 10 from 9-noon.

Meet up at Summerside Winery (I-44 exit 289, Vinita – across from the turnpike gate), and after Andy’s presentation, car caravan to the vineyard for hands-on training.

Everyone is invited (bring your own pruners and goggles). The cost is $20 and no reservations are required. For more info call 918-256-3000.


A Taste for Wine and Murder

Come join StableRidge Winery in Stroud, Oklahoma in a Murder Mystery all about the wine country.
  • When: Saturday April 28th
  • Where: StableRidge Winery
  • Time: 4:30pm
  • Food: Heavy hors d'Ĺ“uvres
  • Cost: $30.00 per person
Call today for reservations: 1-800-359-3990


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End The Winter Blues at Greenfield Vineyard

Rumour of Spring
Originally uploaded by FreeWine.
Dinner and Music in Chandler, OK
Saturday, March 10th

Enjoy a scrumptious 3-Course Dinner and let Greenfield Vineyards help pair your entree with our fine wines! During and after dinner, you are sure to enjoy the Acoustic Guitar of Adam Baker. Baker has shared the stage with some of Nashville's biggest acts, including The Judds, Charlie Daniels, David Allen Coe, and Earl Thomas Conley, to name only a few.

The cost is only $39.95 per person (plus tax). This event is indoors where space is limited so reserve your spot today.

Simply call 405.258.0525 to reserve or visit our website for more details. www.greenfieldvineyard.com

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Arkansas to Open Wine Markets?

The battle for free trade means more than shipping our nation's manufacturing jobs to China and IT jobs to India.

An honest free trade support policy would work toward removing monopolies and barriers to competition like the unreasonable limitations on wine sales and shipping in U.S. States like Oklahoma and Arkansas. Of course, the special iinterests are fighting tooth and nail to keep the trade restrictions in place. Like Oklahoma, Arkansas has a three tier system that ensures consumers pay higher prices for wines and local family wineries are forced out of the retail market.

A bill that would allow some out-of-state wines to be sold in Arkansas grocery and convenience stores received the endorsement Friday of the House Rules Committee.

House Bill 1651 by Rep. John Paul Wells, D-Paris, is a response to lawsuits challenging a state law that allows only wines produced in Arkansas to be sold at grocery and convenience stores. - Arkansas News Bureau

Ever meet anyone with a career or even a 'good job' in a liquor store?

It is far past time to open this market up like the states with successful wine industries have. California residents have voted time and time again to preserve their local wine industry and protect it from being overly dominated by huge corporate wine factories. The results have been clear: higher real estate values, increased tourism and booming local economies in an industry that will never sell them out for third world countries offering lower wages. That sounds pretty good to me and since Right-to-Work has failed to live up to its promises of improving local industry...why not give free trade a try?

Arkansas House panel endorses wine bill

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