Well, it’s been a few weeks since California “17/20” winemakers lost their right to make direct shipments into Illinois, and well, neither side is too happy about it. Californian winemakers have lost millions of dollars in sales, and the numbers are continuing to grow, and the people of Illinois are upset about not getting their wine.
In case you haven’t heard the background on this dilemma, many wineries in CA hold “17/20” licenses which basically means that they don’t have their own winemaking facilities, but rather do their winemaking at other places or at “custom crush” facilities. The scope of these wineries ranges from boutique wineries to larger, mass distributed wineries. However, since they are classified as retailers and distributors, this goes against the House Bill 429 of Illinois. The HB429 was passed back in the first week of June and had an immediate negative effect on the California wine industry.
Sadly, it seems like Illinois is sticking to its’ guns despite all the negative attention the state is receiving from all sides. Personally I think it is a shame when we start banning and stop supporting our own country’s efforts at wine, almost like the French did by saying no advertising on the internet. Just like almost EVERYONE on any cooking show says now days…”support your local market!” Well heck, at least support your country’s wine market. What are your thoughts on Illinois’ decision?