Family Winemakers of California An Association of California Table Wine Producers
Consumer choice expands to 40 states
Granholm v. Heald at eight years
The 8th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of non-discriminatory direct shipping is May 16. As a sign of the enduring nature of the Granholm decision Montana will join the ranks of states this year, now numbering 40 plus the District of Columbia, that allow direct-to-consumer wine sales. The industry was stalled at 13 reciprocal states in the late 1990s when litigation started to get traction. Family Winemakers has spent over $1 million on the road to Granholm, and in Massachusetts, because the association thought it would improve consumer choice and market access for wineries. It's a mission the association has worked at since its founding in 1991.
The post-Granholm years have seen the growth of the direct-to-consumer sales channel. After Michigan and New York complied with the court decision other states started to convert from reciprocal status or support broader consumer choice and enact direct shipping statutes. According to recent reports over 3.1 million cases were shipped in 2012 with a projected value of $1.465 billion.
All roadblocks have not disappeared. Production caps still exist in Arizona, New Jersey and Ohio. Face-to-face requirements still present a hurdle to consumer choice. FWC took on facially neutral, but discriminatory laws in Massachusetts and won. Despite a victory the Bay State continues to drag its legislative feet three years later in complying with the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal decision. Posted May 15, 2013
Governor Brown launches own effort
Revising Proposition 65
Responding to a drumbeat of small business angst over intensified private lawsuits alleging Proposition 65 warning violations, Governor Jerry Brown has launched his own effort to update the 27-year-old law. Assemblymember Mike Gatto, who has been pursuing his own solution in AB 227, welcomed the additional push even though a deal, supported by Family Winemakers, has been worked out with David Roe, co-author of the original initiative. AB 227 passed its second policy test in Assembly Judiciary this week. It's likely Brown's announcement caught the environmental groups and consumer attorneys by surprise judging by the reactions on the stakeholder conference call.
The Governor is going to hold a series of stakeholder meetings after his May budget revision to identify what can be done to freshen up Prop. 65. FWC plans to participate. On the initial list are ways to stop lawsuit abuse (similar to AB 227), clearer warning signs with the inclusion of the actual chemical name, and lowering the 1,000-fold safety factor for reproductive toxins that trigger warnings if only animal data is available. Posted May 13, 2013
Family Winemakers and Stonebridge Research awarded China market research grant by USDA
Family Winemakers of California (FWC) and Stonebridge Research Group LLC have been awarded an Emerging Market Program grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a roadmap on how to sell California fine wines in the Chinese market. “On behalf of California producers that haven’t found a foothold in the growing Chinese market, we’re delighted USDA saw merit in our proposal to focus on sales approaches for fine wines,” said Paul Kronenberg, FWC President. “We partnered with Stonebridge Research because of its deep background in market development and research capabilities since China has great potential for expanding commercial exports of California fine wine and U.S. agricultural producets and commodities.”
Barbara Insel, President of Stonebridge Research Group, will lead the initial one-year research project. “The challenge, using key players with the Foreign Agricultural Service, Chinese distributors and retailers, and key private buyers, is to identify culturally inclusive approaches to compete with other foreign wine imports at fine wine price points,” noted Insel. The layered study will develop this intelligence organically at educational and brand introduction settings. “The goal of the grant is to develop a resource guide that can be used by wineries throughout the nation on how to market to the segment of the Chinese population that are interested in U.S. fine wines, as well as broaden that segment.”
The project is focused on positioning the fine wines produced by California’s family wineries to appeal to China’s “aspirational” wine consumers by building the associations between the wines and desirable/prestigious/luxury experiences. One key aspect of the project is developing a prestigious California fine wine education curriculum that would not only build awareness and expertise in the category among both the wine trade and private clients, but also become a vehicle to engage potential surrogates in China in spreading the message. This will start to build a community of “influentials” familiar with the quality and story of fine California wines through these programs who then can drive demand through word of mouth. Including in the project some of California’s finest wines will show China’s most influential consumers the exceptional quality of California’s family winemakers and the attractiveness of the taste profile for the Chinese palate and wine consuming style. The goal is to develop a “mid-tier” wine segment -- below super-luxury, but well above the value category to which too many Chinese wine consumers and wine experts have consigned wines from California. “Mid-tier” in China’s wine market would be wines that retail in China between US$40 and US$200 per 750 ml bottle. The project also seeks to expand awareness of California wines beyond Beijing and Shanghai to other major cities, specifically Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen.
The $369,292 grant is for FY 2013, the first year of an expected three year undertaking. Posted May 3, 2013
Which wineries do direct-to-consumer sales?
Welcome to Family Winemakers of California's web site. The most value-added feature of the web site is our "Buying CA Wine" consumer map. Click there and you can simply find out if you live in a state that allows direct to consumer sales and more importantly, which Family Winemakers members are selling in your state. The list you'll find under each state will give you a direct link to that winery and its online store. Each state page contains valuable information for consumers buying wine.
Quick contact info
If you'd like to contact us you may do so by calling (916) 498-7500. Our fax number is (916) 498-7505.
Or write us a letter and mail it to: Family Winemakers of California 520 Capitol Mall, Suite 260 Sacramento CA 95814 firstname.lastname@example.org