Episode #275 – Vote Your Wine Rights!

Prohibition-Era Wine Laws, Illegal Volunteering and Latest Wine News

Rob Ikard, Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association

Rob Ikard, Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association

David speaks with Rob Ikard, President and CEO of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association in Tennessee, which is leading the charge to bring about some very significant changes in the laws governing the purchase of wine in the volunteer state.

Currently in thirty-five states, you can just walk into a grocery store and buy beer and wine, but there are still some pretty archaic laws that still exist in some states that persist for reasons that may differ from what proponents may claim. Wine laws are different in every state and are all across the board, and powerful lobbies that keep strict control over wine and alcohol retail distribution control many of them. There is a measure on next week’s Tennessee ballot about what types of retail establishments where people can buy wine and right now there is a powerful campaign running in Tennessee with the theme, “Where’s the wine?”

Next, David revisits another hot legal issue with Sara Schneider, Wine Editor of Sunset Magazine, that of the illegality of wineries using volunteer labor to pick grapes. A recent Grape Encounters episode covered the story of how labor laws with a very different original purpose are being reinterpreted and used to harshly penalize and potentially shut down wineries. One very small winemaking operation operated by Bill and Jill Smyth, Westover Winery in Northern California, was fined so severely, they are shutting their doors. Sara weighs in with her insights on this very tricky situation.

And, in Wine News with our Senior Wine News Correspondent Larry Gifford, we cover aging wine under water, memory improvement with wine in older people, a credit-stealing scam involving flowers and wine, “selling fun” with Beat Box Beverages funky wines, and the “Grape Debate” involving New Mexico’s St. Clair Winery’s Hatch Chili-infused wines.

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