Americanized Wine Wars


Dissident winemakers in France have taken to using dynamite to voice their grievances. Dissident winemaker Juanita Swedenburg, who owns a winery in Virginia, is using the Institute for Justice. For no good reason, 24 states have restrictions on allowing out-of-state winemakers to sell directly to consumers. Today's Washington Post has a piece on Swedenburg's five years of legal wrangling, which will end in July when the Supreme Court decides whether to favor New York's consumers or its wholesalers.

Mike Lynch weighed in on Juanita's plight way back in 2000.

NEXT: What's Cooking on the VAT front?

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  1. But underage drinkers might have access to $100 bottles of Napa Valley Pinot Noir! The Horror!

  2. David-Think of it as an anti-teen drinking measure. Once they get stupid on said Pinot, the cheap horse-piss beer normally available to the underage crowd simply won’t cut it. It takes some saving for a teenager to spend $100 on a bottle of the good stuff. Hell, it takes me a while to save that.

  3. Number 6,

    I wouldn’t drink milwaukee’s best if you paid me $100.00 a can.

  4. David-Truly, you are a man of good taste. The Beast is the last resort of the broke frat boy. Anyone who buys a case of that stuff may want to consider some sort of treatment program.

  5. Kerry,

    I find it odd that you relate the “grievances” of Swedenberg with the “grievances” of the French vino-terrorists. Swedenberg’s complaint is that the government is overbearing and overrestrictive. The French’s compaint is that the government isn’t giving them enough corporate welfare bailout money to make up for their shitty wine sales abroad. Not exactly the same thing.

    However, when you look at it from another angle, it IS the French government’s fault (via INAO & AOC wine laws) that French winemakers are having trouble competing in the international market in the first place. So, well, maybe they do owe winemakers compensation for their overbearing regulation…hehe…

  6. I’m not one for new laws but any working person over the age of 23, who willing buys Milwaukee’s Best for their own consumption should be institionalized for treatment.

    Back to the topic at hand, I hope Ms. Swedenburg wins so that I can just order wines that I’ve enjoyed from small vineyards rather than driving 400 miles to get them. I’m all about convenience.

  7. “A shadowy group calling itself the Comit? Regional d?Action Viticoles (CRAV) used the explosives in protest at the diminishing market for their wines and at the government?s offer of aid, considered insufficient to ease the industry?s crisis. “

    So there is good reason to hate the French. I think the idea of mentioning them in the same post, was to contrast the two.

  8. Warren,

    This is not a “reason to hate the french” any more than the KKK is a “reason to hate Americans”. They are a small rebel group whose actions have been denounced by the wine industry as a whole.

  9. Actualy Pabst Blue Ribbon is amongst the most popular beer for many of my friends. For some odd reason it found a home with all the hipsters, wny I have no idea. Probably the price as well as having the added bonus of being ironic, which is what hipsters specialize in.

  10. Juanita? So that’s why she’s so strongly against drugs. It’s competiition for her intoxicating wares. I knew it!

  11. Pabst Blue Ribbon

    Those with brains my age might remember the fad back in the mid-70s on the east coast for Coors beer, which at the time was available only in western states. People were actually loading up their luggage with Coors on return trips from California, etc.

    For me, Pabst will always be the beer you bought when the beer machine in the barracks was out of Schlitz.

    Bring back Falstaff!

  12. It’s really quite simple. Wine consumers have become vastly more informed in the last 10 to 15 years. French wine has always had a certain mystique to it, owing mostly to the fact that you have to know which grapes are grown in what areas because they don’t tell you on the label. Most people had to ask a salesmen what was in the bottle. Add to this that there are many excellent wines being made in places not traditionally known for wine production, such as Argentina and Chile that sell for around $10 a bottle, and these French producers suddenly can’t command the $30 a bottle or more that they were getting. Try some Argentine Malbec sometime, they are excellent young wines. These are simply producers who cannot win in what has truly become a global market.

    As far as the states preventing direct sales, I am very much looking forward to the Supreme Court decision on this which will hopefully destroy the three-tier distribution system that most states rely upon for alcohol sales.

  13. From the link about the French.

    “A shadowy group calling itself the Comit? Regional d?Action Viticoles (CRAV) used the explosives in protest at the diminishing market for their wines and at the government?s offer of aid, considered insufficient to ease the industry?s crisis. ”

    What the fuck? I mean, what the fucking fuck? These assholes are pissed that the government subsidies offered are insufficient? Governments create markets? My French sillies, you must create your own markets.

    Here’s a little marketing tip for you. Videotape yourselves protesting the government with dynamtie. Then run the tagline under the wine name “This wine will get you F’ED UP. See?” Run the ads on US television and sell the wine at 7-11 for $5 a bottle. Viola.

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