The Best of the Web
AIDV-IWLA (Wine Lawyer Association)
The AIDV-IWLA (Wine Lawyer Association) was "founded in 1985 to provide an international forum for the study and discussion of legal issues concerning the viticultural community and the wine trade - world wide. With over 350 individual and organization members in more than 20 countries, the AIDV provides a wide range of activities: conferences in major wine-growing regions of the world, publications, and opportunities for contact with colleagues in wine law." Excellent set of wine law links in French and in English.
Coalition for Free Trade
The Coalition for Free Trade is a non-profit legal foundation whose goal is to legalize direct-to-consumer shipments of wine from out-of-state wineries and retailers in those states where it is currently prohibited. The foundation operates solely on voluntary contributions from members of the American wine industry and consumers. These funds support litigation in numerous states where petitioners (largely consumers and wineries, together) have the goal of removing discriminatory trade barriers that prohibit of-age consumers from receiving wine for personal enjoyment directly from out-of-state wineries and retailers. http://www.coalitionforfreetrade.org/
Congressional Wine Caucus
The Congressional Wine Caucus is a bipartisan brings together a group of 250 members of Congress from all 50 states to educate and engage them in legislative and regulatory matters pertaining to wine issues. The site is an excellent source of current information on legislative matters, and provides a forum for wine lovers to contact members of Congress on wine related issues. http://www.radanovich.house.gov/wine/index.htm
Cornell Law School
The Legal Information Institute of the Cornell Law School has collected a very useful set of US legal resources and has provided a concise overview of US wine law. The collections includes constitutional, statutory, regulatory and judicial materials. This is a particularly useful site as a source of BATF regulations; they are much easier to obtain here than on the official BATF site. Care must be taken to be sure that the most recent regulations appear on either site. Highly recommended as a starting point for US wine law.
The Internet so far only hints at the complexity of the wine laws of the European Community; although the major compilation of relevant laws can be found using Euro-Lex. Pick one of eleven languages on the first page; this will take you to an excellent home page listing many of the resources of this comprehensive site. A recent search found well over 600 hits on the word "wine"; it is helpful to learn a bit about the search engine if you are looking for particular information. This is an essential online resource for understanding wine law in the Community, but traditional media remains the most reliable resource.
Free the Grapes
Free the Grapes "supports augmenting, not replacing, the 3-tier system with the controls and regulations necessary to respect local laws, avoid underage access, and to provide provisions to make tax payments. We think it’s wrong that the distributors are telling you which wines you can and cannot enjoy. America’s 2,000 wineries produce more wines than distributors can stock and sell, and less than 5% of wine production is even likely to be shipped directly to consumers." USA Today wrote: "The (wholesaler) industry's tactics are a civics lesson in how scare stories, lobbying and political money can be used to limit consumer choice through special-interest protections." A great way to fight back.
Japanese Wine Law
Discussions on the Internet of Japanese Wine Law tend to be quite superficial and very negative; Bruce Gutlove of Hotei Wines has kindly furnished us with a fuller description:
"The rules are as follows:
-- Legally, anything can be called Japanese wine if it contains at least 5% "domestic product".
-- Legally, "domestic product" is defined as anything fermented in Japan, even if the raw materials came from outside the country (grapes from California, frozen must from Languedoc, grape juice concentrate from Bulgaria, etc).
-- Therefore, it is possible to make the following blend which can legally be called Japanese wine:
95% bulk wine from Chile and 5% wine made from Bulgarian concentrate fermented in Japan."
The "Nihon Wainarii Kyoukai" (Japanese Winery Association) has adopted a voluntary labelling code which is a bit more restrictive.
North Carolina Wine Case
J. Alexander Tanford has put together a collection of the legal papers in the North Carolina Wine Case concerning the constitutionality of laws prohibiting the direct shipment of wine to consumers. He has also gathered some materials from cases in other jurisdictions and provides periodic status reviews. http://www.law.indiana.edu/webinit/tanford/wine/
Wine and Spirit Association
The Wine and Spirit Association operates two sites; WSA Corporate and WSAOnline. The corporate site contains 100 or so pages of general information on the association, latest press releases and other such trade matters. Online contains many thousands of pages of regulatory information relating the wine trade in the UK and Europe; it is a registration based, pay per view site but about 40% of the documents are free.
Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc.
Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc. is a national trade organization and the voice of the wholesale branch of the wine and spirits industry. It is dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of wholesale distributors of wine and/or spirits. Its position on direct shipping is opposed to Free the Grapes: "Direct shipping is at least a $1 billion a year business. In the name of "consumer freedom", direct shippers of alcohol beverages seek to increase profits by avoiding taxes and state-monitored and regulated systems for alcohol by marketing and shipping their products directly to consumers." As a consumer, it is obvious where I stand on this issue.
Wine Law, the legal and compliance information division of Wine Institute, the trade association of California wineries, provides detailed, explicit information about alcoholic-beverage
control laws in all 50 states of the U.S. and comprehensive discussion of laws regarding the interstate shipment of wine.
The Rest of the Web
Brown-Forman Corporation is one of the largest American-owned companies in the wine and spirits business. Through Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide, Brown-Forman produces and markets Jack Daniel’s, Canadian Mist, Southern Comfort, Early Times, Korbel champagnes, Fetzer wines, and Bolla wines. http://www.brown-forman.com
Family Winemakers of California
Family Winemakers of California is an association of over 400 California table wine producers with an active lobbying group, and an excellent news feed on legal matters relating to California wine. The search engine on pending legislation is especially good. The website also features upcoming tastings, a calendar of significant wine events, bulletin boards and links to websites of many of the members.
Official Classifications of the Wines of Bordeaux
The 57 appellations of Bordeaux are not classified in a single official ranking. But the Médoc, Sauternes and Barsac, Graves, and Saint-Emilion districts do have their own official internal classification systems. Pomerol, one of Bordeaux's greatest assets, was not included in the 1855 Classification, and remains unclassified to this day. Official Classifications of the Wines of Bordeaux lists the various classifications.