HB1161 – A Threat to Wineries and Wine Retailers

Dear Wine Friends:

I’m sure many of you heard about the HR 1161 bill currently circulating in congress.  This bill is unofficially known as the Wholesaler Protection Act, which seeks to limit shipment of wine (and beer and spirits) and will undermine the free-market system.  I oppose the bill and hope that you would reach out to your Congressman/woman to change their minds since this bill could seriously impact your ability to purchase wine, as well as my livelihood.

Many of you do business with me because I have products that your wholesalers (thus your local retailer/restaurant) do not carry; I purposely do not stock items that are readily available in the local, larger California and National market place to avoid issues like this.

Moreover, the State of New Hampshire offers something that others states might have to look at to circumvent this entire issue – impose a Use Tax.  I am not a fan of paying taxes either – NH allows companies like mine to ship directly to end consumers as long as the consumer pays an 8% “Use Tax” for the transaction. None of my NH clients complains, as they are buying those hard-to-find wines that are not in the NH stores.  I would propose this for all the states that are having issues with direct shipping and this would alleviate lots of other issues – plus it would generate large amounts of tax revenue for your local and state coffers.

Congress doesn’t realize that the CA wine industry is an economy larger than (GDP) that of countries like Belgium. This industry includes not only wine, but also a few million employees – from grower, to picker, to winemaker, to sales force, to retailer, retail staff, packaging supply companies, UPS/FedEx.  Really, could you imagine that 3/4 of the CA wineries and 7/8 of CA wine retailers (like me with a good chunk of out-of-state clientele) would go out of business?

Find your congressional representative at this link: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
Click here for more information on HR 1161: http://www.stop1161.org/
Sign the petition: https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr1161

I don’t want to write an entire thesis on this, but you get the idea!
Please reach out to your Congressman/woman.

A very humbled,
Frank Melis

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