19-08-2011

Your local wine shop will not be closing

Today we got word of a classic slippery slope piece via Fermentation about how New Jersey wine shops and wineries will be forced out of business. It’s pretty typical of this type of thing in which the author decries the loss of 60,000 jobs in New Jersey if people are allowed to have their wine directly delivered to them along with having a greater ease in choosing the wines they want to drink from the greater US.

The premise is laughable and it’s quite sad that it’s written by Joseph Cryan, the Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly. It’s probably the case (as it is in all the states that are still trying to stop direct wine shipments) that they are trying to protect their New Jersey wine industry and tourism (yes, that is a monster truck rally on the photo slideshow of their tourism website). I can understand that, but at the same time, protectionism doesn’t work, especially when you’re dealing with it in terms of states in a union as opposed to separate nations.

The truth is, local wine shops and local wines aren’t going to be going away. Yes, this will probably force local wineries to lower prices or specialize in some type of wine that distinguishes them. This isn’t a bad thing and it might even work to bolster the NJ wine industry if they find they can produce something special there. It also needs to be said that if some winery is producing shit wine and is only in business because artificial protections are in place to make it massively cheaper than the competition, it deserves to lose that edge.

As for people not ordering from wine shops anymore, that’s ludicrous. How do I know? Well, despite wine.com and living in California, which is awash in great wines less than an hour away from me, I still go to wine shops. Why? Because I want the expert advice that local merchants such as biondivino, K&L, and Ferry Plaza offer. It’s much more than just finding wine at a good price, but more about discovering a new wine.

My guess is that Joseph Cryan has some really angered, greedy backers pulling his strings because no matter how you add it up, liberalizing the wine market in New Jersey won’t be a bad thing.