Saturday, January 24, 2009

Illinois Wine Consumers Unite!

If you love wine and are committed to the principle of free trade, you should join this group!

“The Illinois Wine Consumer Coalition and its members provide a voice for Illinois wine consumers. Our foundational principle is that Illinois consumers should have full access to the wines of their choice from both Illinois and out-of-state wineries and retailers. A well-regulated and efficient wine market demands full access to all wines for adult Illinois consumers. ”

That quote come from the organizers of the Illinois Wine Consumer Coalition, a grassroots project that officially opened its website this week. You should join this organization, in order to increase Illinois consumers' access to the entire wine universe.

A brief history lesson now, which you may not have received from our Illinois newspapers and television stations: Last summer, HB-429 was signed into law by Governor Blagojevich. This law allowed one positive for Illinois wine lovcrs (allowing for the shipment of wines directly by the winery, provided they pay for an access permit), but took away one important right which consumers valued for fifteen years (the ability to order from out of state retailers or over the Internet).

It's easy to take wine availability and access here in Illinois, especially in Chicago. There are plenty of local retailers, both large and small, with exciting selections (just see some of my favorites on the left side of this blog). We can even buy wines in supermarkets (try that in New York City, or my parents' home state of Connecticut). The amount of competitors help keep prices lower than in other regions.

But sooner or later, you will read about or hear about a wine that you just can't get here in Illinois. Maybe you read a review in a Wine Porn magazine that intrigues you. Or maybe Gary V. on that Wine Library video blog raved about something that is unavailable with every store you checked. If this wine isn't available in the portfolio of a local middleman (distributor), you have to order direct (kind of hard if it's a foreign wine), or go without.

The Illinois Wine Consumer Coalition seeks to make consumers aware of this issue with the ultimate goal to repeal 429 and return free consumer wine choice to Illinois consumers. Should this happen, I doubt that any local stores will go out of business (most of my wino friends spread their purchases across several stores), and won't lead to more underage drinking (how much wine do you remember drinking in your high school and college days)? Please join me in this group and keep reading my blog for updates about their progress.

P.S.: Listen for an interview from Gretchen Neuman and MaryAnne Spinner of the Illiniois Wine Consumer Coalition this Sunday, January 25, at 1:00 p.m. on WCPT-AM.


Maman said...

Great post! Thanks for joining the cause! Plus, I am loving knowing another Chicago wine blogger (other than Kevin and Rory on VV).

Chicago Pinot said...

Thanks for writing, Maman! All of us wine bloggers here in Chicago should get together sometime for a strategy session. How does that sound?