Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Wine Oligarchs Want to Crush More Than Grapes

It's the type of legislation plotted out in industry after industry. Those close to the center of power plot with the connected, to squash competitors with legislation that is difficult for outsiders to understand, but which damages an industry for the benefit of the few.

Here's a good example of how it is developing with regard to the New York wine distribution industry. CNBC reports:
The most important wine region to New Yorkers isn't Bordeaux, Tuscany or the Mosel. It's New Jersey, where almost all the fine wine they drink is warehoused before being delivered to local stores and restaurants. An amendment before the New York Senate would end this practice, and require wines to be stored in-state for 48 hours.

Small wholesalers are up in arms, claiming this is an attempt to drive them out of business by the state's two biggest liquor distributors, Southern Wine & Spirits and Empire Merchants, who already have their storage facilities within state lines.

"It's two very large companies trying to monopolize the fine wine market by squeezing us out," says Tina Fischer of Polaner Selections. "It's bad for our retail and restaurant customers, and bad for consumers. Prices will go up, selections will go down. The only people this is good for are Southern and Empire."
The only way this cronyism will stop is by preventing legislators from creating legislation that interferes with free markets. The power centers must be eliminated.

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