By Michael Kaiser, Director of Communications
One of the new policy initiatives at WineAmerica is Wine Policy Day. Wine Policy Day is a coordinated effort with the State Associations Council to bring Members of Congress and other elected officials to local wineries to educate them on the policy barriers that wineries face. It is designed to help build long term relationships between elected officials and the wineries in their districts and states. Wineries are one of the few growth industries in this country, and our elected officials need to know about their positive economic impact. Unfortunately, due to the on-going conflict in Washington resulting in the closure of the United State government, Wine Policy Day has been cancelled for 2013.
The 2013 version of Wine Policy Day was to be a pilot program. Three states had signed up to participate: Arizona, Maryland and Ohio. The various events were to be held during the Congressional Columbus Day recess (October 12-20) when Members of Congress are back in their home districts. Last Friday, October 11, Wines and Vines Magazine posted a feature article on their webpage about our plans for Wine Policy Day. We were very pleased at the coverage the initiative received. The article underscores the importance of education on wine policy issues. Due to the continuing federal government shutdown, Congress will be in session the week of October 14, leading to the postponement of the 2013 version of Wine Policy Day.
In the current political environment, our issues are pushed to the side, but are no less important. The wine industry needs a Farm Bill to pass, and we need comprehensive immigration reform. The threat of a federal excise tax increase is real. And, right now, countless wineries are unable to print labels due to TTB’s closure.
WineAmerica plans to reschedule Wine Policy Day, but in the meantime, we urge all WineAmerica members to contact your Representatives and let them know about our issues. Invite them to your wineries and show them how wineries help the local economy grow. Review WineAmerica’s Policy Day manual and don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance. You have the power to change the legislation that affects you. Make your voice heard.
To read the article about Wine Policy Day in Wines and Vines, please go here: