David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 31
August 1, 1999 to August 7, 1999 

August 4, 1999

We just received some new policies from the company which does our shipping. It doesn't appear that there is any 
good news. As many of you have probably followed in the news, the Senate and now the Congress has passed bills 
that are against any internet sales of alcohol. Obviously, that includes any sales to be sent out of state, whether by mail 
order, phone, etc. Since at least one-third of our sales are out of California, we are obviously concerned about these 
new developments. We are hopeful that eventually the Supreme Court (possibly taking as much as ten years) will rule 
in favor of unrestricted interstate commerce, to include also the shipment of wine. In the meantime, I can make a guess 
of what may  happen. I suspect every state will eventually require the licensing of every winery, even one as small as 
we are. This will probably require us to pay a fee of several hundred dollars to each state that we wish to ship to. 
Also, they are going to make us itemize every case that is sent to each state. In other words, a great deal of 
paperwork will be involved. That means if we sell maybe 10 to 20 cases to several different states, we could be 
paying thousands of dollars just to sell 100 cases. Again only a guess, but this could mean that our costs would be 
increased by $20 a case to ship wine to these states. The question is, will our customers be willing to spend another 
$20 for the wine plus the existing cost of approximately $40 for the shipping to continue to purchase our wine. In 
today's market, that would equate to an additional $5 per bottle. 

August 5, 1999

I have been contemplating what I said yesterday and must think about the future. Almost everything we sell is on a "futures" basis, and we must realize that we may not be able to ship to every state any longer. I don't want to alarm everyone, and we will make every effort we can to ship to all customers who have bought our wine futures up to this time. But we may have to protect ourselves for any sales after this date. 

I would like to bring up a topic for discussion. I invite anyone to give their input on our public forum or through private feedback. I would like to continue to ship to all states but must be practical and assume that we could have some of our wine confiscated if we continue. I feel some types of insurance are unnecessary. As a matter of fact, I do not have life insurance or credit card protection, for example. But in a way, I feel I should now insure against the possibility that we may have wine confiscated in the future. In any state that is not reciprocal - according to UPS that is 40 states - I am feeling that we should charge an extra amount over our regular sales price as protection for the possibility that we may lose wine in transit or at its destination. In other words, I would like to guarantee everyone we sell wine to that they will eventually take possession of our wine or at least receive their money back for their purchase. That will mean that we will have to raise our prices approximately $20 a case to residents of those 40 nonreciprocal states. Are you the consumer willing to pay that additional amount? This is the topic I am opening up for discussion here on our site and I encourage you to also call, email or write your representatives! 


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