Good Things Happen When You Play By The Rules
Looking through the Family Winemakers newsletter recently I found a very interesting article on the positive results that can accrue when wineries play by the direct shipping rules. Here is the brief but important text:
Florida Direct Sales Solid
“Recent figures released by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations show that direct-to-consumer sales remains strong. Florida has been open to direct shipping without permit for 2.5 years. In that time the state has collected $704,561 in excise tax from 867 individual wineries. As context it should be remembered that there is no permit required, no quantity limit and there have been no reportsof illegal access by minors. The monthly sales trend continues to nudge upward and it appears that roughly 450 Floridians order wine monthly.”
Source: Family Winemakers of California Friday Wine Chronicle, July 25, 2008
This is what I argue all the time – wineries play fair and play by the rules. Wineries will follow the rules, pay taxes and file reports if states would just give them reasonable rules by which to live. The court injunction in Florida has resulted in minimal rules and oversight, yet this article demonstrates that wineries will pay the excise tax due and not sell to minors even without onerous rules that some states put in place to prevent the feared abuse of an uncontrolled market. The rules are really designed to restrict access. The wine industry as whole abiding by a reasonable set of rules will put the lie to such fears. The result will be more open states and consumer access. Wineries want to be responsible citizens and have access to responsible consumers. The results in Florida are a perfect example of what can happen when given the chance to prove it. Good things happen for everyone - the consumer, the winery, and the state, when you play by the rules.