Ah yes, any advocacy groups that help to build and market brands…. It’s a lonesome limb we’re on.

I know it well. I’ve helped to grow the visibility of Petite Sirah; when I started there were only 62 growers and producers combined that I could find. Twelve years later, there are nearly 1,100 of them. When we started, we had about 40 members of the advocacy group. Today, we have 80 members… Where the other 1,020 are is anyone’s guess.

And so, when I was asked for help from my friend Tom Wark, I was just so there for him. Tom’s the executive director of the American Wine Consumer Coalition (AWCC)… the advocacy group founded in 2013 to provide American wine consumers with an advocacy voice they’ve not had. This group provides members with significant benefits to help them pursue their love of wine.

From Tom: In our first 6 months of existence:

  • AWCC testified in Massachusetts on behalf of consumers in advocating for direct wine shipping
  • Communicated with Pennsylvania lawmakers, on the importance of including direct shipping rights in any privatization bill they may consider
  • Testified to the New York Liquor Authority about the importance the Third party marketers play in giving consumers access to wine
  • Released the first ever report card on how the states treat wine consumers through their laws
  • Received considerable converge in the the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, the Wine Spectator, and other news outlets for its support of wine consumers rights.

HEAD’S UP, WINERIES: The AWCC’s goal of advocating for greater access to wine for wine consumers matches exactly the goals that wineries possess. Do you guys realize how important this group is for benefiting your wine companies? Okay, okay, not the big guys, because it is they who have gotten in bed with wholesalers. The advantage of that union is that most big guys with their created marketing brands don’t have a store on their Websites. Those wineries WANT consumers to go to supermarkets to purchase their wine, stocked by their wholesaler partners.  And, while we’re on the subject, what about sommeliers and restaurateurs who want to offer some of these great artisan wines?

Commodity wines are great for consumers who don’t care whether or not the wine they buy is hand crafted… or not. But, what about the artisan wines that should also have some shelf space, because some consumers actually do have palates?

There are some consumers who care; and every single wine brand that DOESN’T have a wholesaler should line up, with the AWCC by its side. It’s in your best interest.

There is no other wines consumer advocacy organization in the country. This is your only lobbying group, wine lovers.

HEAD’S UP, WINE WRITERS: For those of you who are having problems getting samples, head’s up. Support these guys with the power of your pens, at least. They’re fighting to change the laws in your states. Let’s talk about Massachusetts, where we have to send in a form to wholesalers and they make the writers go to their distribution house to pick up their wine samples… Let’s just say, when writers have to do that, the wholesalers put on a very “Do you realize you’re disturbing me” face. When, in fact, it’s really motivated by, “I can make a dime on this wine; thanks a lot.”

Get on board, people:

AWCC membership fees allow all consumers and business to support consumers rights without great expense.

  • $35 a year for consumers
  • $100 a year for businesses

The AWCC hopes that wineries will also introduce their customers to AWCC via email and other communications. This will help grow the organization, so that wine consumers and wineries have better access to each other.

The URL for the AWCC website is: www.wineconsumers.org.

Do you wineries who are selling directly to consumers want to take the slow boat to China with your wine sales, or would you like to fast forward your bottom line?

You decide.



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