Our national wine policy bulletin for February is now available. Some of the most critical federal issues impacting the wine industry this month include:
– Distribution Regulation: Alcohol retail giant Kroger has proposed a drastic new alcohol category management system that would be funded by wholesalers and suppliers and lead by one of the largest alcohol distributors in the U.S.
– International Trade: The USDA has finalized a repeal of COOL that will protect the U.S. wine industry from costly tariffs on wine exports.
– FDA Regulations: The House has passed the “Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act,” amending the chain restaurant menu-labeling requirements that go into effect on December 1. Alcohol products listed on menus of establishments with twenty or more locations must include their calorie and serving size information.
– Labeling: The Senate Agriculture Committee passed a bi-partisan bill out of committee that would invalidate any state GMO labeling requirements and establish a federal voluntary labeling system.
At the state level, efforts to bring wine to grocery and convenience stores continues apace across the country, with a bill that would expedite wine sales in Tennessee and a proposal in Oklahoma that would bring the issue of wine in grocery stores to a statewide vote. Legislation is also underway in Colorado and Arizona to liberalize regulations on the direct shipping of wine to consumers by wineries.