Here are some suggestions from some of my favorite bloggers and Chicago based personalities about the one question that really matters:
What can President-elect Obama do for the wine industry?
From Amy Gardner at WineTalent:
"The best thing for the wine industry that President Obama could do would be to allow the free sale and shipping of wine across state borders. I think this would allow fair trade and also provide some opportunities for underserved wine regions."
From John Terlato of Terlato Wine Group:
"The President of the United States is a high profile opinion leader whose influence is global in scope. It appears as if the Obama's genuinely enjoy fine dining and wine as a lifestyle choice. As they continue to enjoy wine and fine dining and express a visible appreciation for a diverse range of U.S. wine brands and varietals, this might serve as an acknowledgement of their interest in wine as a lifestyle choice and could also positively impact the U.S. wine and food sectors.”
From Maggie Tosch of Outside the Lines, Inc. and Wine and Hospitality Jobs.com:
"I am sure you are going to get a huge response saying 'Get rid of the three tier system!' It creates undue burden on the winery, with most of the profit going to the middle man with both the producer and end consumer paying the price."
From Alyssa Rapp at Bottlenotes:
"The United States’ wine industry is governed by the 21st Amendment that grew out of Prohibition. The 21st Amendment established a “Three-Tier system” for the distribution of alcoholic beverages in the U.S.; wine therefore must move from a winery/importer, to a wholesaler, to a retailer, before arriving at an end consumer. As the e-commerce world continues to evolve and grow, regulators at every level would greatly benefit by putting consumers’ needs first by making it as easy as possible for them to purchase wine from any location (winery, retailer, etc), and receive it in any state in which they live. There is no reason that wine should be any more difficult to purchase online than shoes."
From Amy Garman at South Loop Wine Cellar:
"I think it would be wonderful if the Obamas could somehow promote the wine industry or wine drinking, but I don't see that being the first thing on the list and it could lead to an image problem. The President Elect does, however, have great enthusiasm for both innovating and making American industry more environmentally friendly. Wine making is an agricultural business and I think that we will see great gains in efficiency and green practices in both farming and agriculture throughout the Obama administration. This will not only reduce production costs, but help save the planet - which is good for everyone!"
From Don Sritong at Just Grapes:
"I would like President Elect Obama to push for amending or repealing the 21st amendment and place federal controls on wine shipping laws. I would like him to allow consumers to buy wine from which ever state they choose. Free trade is the basis of our beautiful capitalistic society yet our liquor laws go against every grain of this. We need to progress from our Puritanical past and open up the state borders to the freedom of choice of wine!"
From Alpana Singh of What Would Alpana Drink?
"The White House serves only US wines and there is a great tradition of serving them at state dinners, etc. I know many people would be inspired to take up wine if President Elect Obama were to publicly announced his appreciation for it. He is so well respected and admired by many so his just merely saying how he likes to relax with a glass of wine would do wonders for the industry. Just look what happened when he announced they would be getting a dog!"