Indiana‘s wineries want the ability to sell their product in restaurants and stores in their neighborhood.
A legislative study committee heard testimony from winery owners on a bill that passed the House this year, but stalled in the Senate. The bill would allow wineries to avoid going through the wholesale and distributor networks and sell a small amount of their products themselves, something that was outlawed in 2006. Dr. Larry Pampel, president of the Indiana Winery and Vineyard Association says the bill will help small wineries.
“There would be gallon distribution limits, and it would allow wineries to self-distribute to, say a restaurant or a local store in their own communities,” says Pampel.
Supporters of the bill claim that distributors and wholesalers often won‘t purchase wine from small, in-state wineries for re-sale at grocery and convenience stores. President of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers John Livengood says he hears both sides of the argument.
He says, “The really really small wineries may have difficulty getting a wholesaler but then I have also heard the wholesalers say they would go out of their way to help small wineries. So I think it would be better if the two industries got together and worked out a way for the small wineries to be distributed.”
Livengood states that continuing to distribute wine through a wholesaler would serve the industry best. There are three tiers this way-producers, distributors/wholesalers, and retailers. The three-tier system prevents discrimination to buyers and keeps order in the state’s system.