Oregon received the No. 1 ranking in the nation for its friendliness to wine consumers, according to a report released yesterday by the American Wine Consumer Coalition. Oregon was one of only six states whose regulatory environment received an A+ rating in AWCC’s annual state-by-state report card.
The report used a number of criteria in its report card, giving each a grade from A to F. Among the criteria considered in the evaluation were access to products, government control, blue laws, winery-to-consumer shipping, retail-to-consumer shipping, government control of wine sales, Sunday sales of wine, BYO/corkage in restaurants and wine sold in grocery stores.
According to the report, “Oregon possesses the most consumer friendly wine laws in the nation.” Other states receiving an A+ grade were California, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Virginia. The District of Columbia also received an A+ grade.
“Oregon’s wine producers have worked hard in cooperation with the governor and the state legislature to ensure that Oregon’s regulation of wine in the state is both responsible and supports our thriving wine industry,” said Leigh Bartholomew, chairwoman of the Oregon Wine Board (OWB).
Bartholomew added, “The legislative efforts of the Oregon Winegrowers Association (OWA) in particular working with licensed distributors and retailers have helped create a positive environment for one of Oregon’s most promising industries.”
The wine industry contributed more than $2.7 billion to the Oregon economy in 2010. In 2011, Oregon wine sales passed the 2 million case mark for the first time. The industry employs more than 13,500 people and is comprised of 463 wineries and 849 vineyards.
The American Wine Consumer Coalition (AWCC) is the only national advocacy group that works to advance the interests of America’s wine consumers. Member funded, the AWCC provides a voice for wine consumers, representing them in front of lawmakers, the media, and the trade. The group also provides its members with benefits to help them pursue their love of wine.
“Eighty years after passage of the 21st Amendment, many of the alcohol and wine-related laws put in place in the 1930s are still in place in most states, despite a cultural, economic and commercial reality that is starkly different from the 1930’s. In some cases, however, laws concerning how consumers may access wine products and use wine have been updated to match the economic changes that have occurred, to accommodate legal rulings that showed many of the earlier laws to be unconstitutional and to meet the demands of an American consumer base that has become fervently interested in the wines produced now in every state in the country,” the report said.
Oregon’s wine producing community has continued its push in the area of wine consumer friendly laws by leading the passage of the Oregon Wine Growler bill by the 2013 state legislature. The recently enacted law allows Oregon wine shops, grocery stores, wine bars and restaurants to offer wine on tap and sell bulk wine to go, in the same way beer has been sold by the growler at brewpubs and taverns.
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