Fellow Oklahoma winemakers and homebrewers,
Tomorrow's election will have a state question that has a huge impact on the Oklahoma winemaking industry. In 2001, voters in Oklahoma voted over 70% in favor of allowing Oklahoma wineries to sell directly to liquor stores and restaurants without going through a distributor. That change allowed the wine industry to go from a few wineries to over 50 in just a few short years. Small wineries were able to sell to the local liquor stores and restaurants without being at the mercy of a wholesaler that had little interest in distributing for every little winery that opened here in Oklahoma.
Last year this law was challenged by the distributors as unconstitutional and was overturned by the state supreme court. The reasoning was that it created an unfair advantage for Oklahoma wineries over out of state wineries who were still required to go through a distributor. It was a huge blow. Out of state wineries that distribute in Oklahoma would more than likely use a distributor regardless.
In order to make the law "fair", a new question will be on tomorrows ballet. It rewrites the law to include any winery that produces under 10,000 gallons a year. Oklahoma wineries are dying on the vine right now. With out this change many will not succeed. Please pass this on to friends so that we can ensure that this law passes.
The following is the actual question appearing on the ballot:
State Question 743 - In Short: Wineries from Oklahoma and outside the state of Oklahoma will be able to sell their wine directly to retail stores and restaurants if SQ 743 is approved. Currently, they can only do so through a wholesaler or at fairs/festivals.
Actual Ballot Text:
This measure amends Section 3 of Article 28 of the Constitution. It requires a customer to be twenty-one and physically present to purchase wine at a winery, festival or trade show. The measure changes the law to allow certain winemakers to sell directly to retail package stores and restaurants in Oklahoma. The change applies to winemakers who produce up to ten thousand gallons of wine a year. It applies to winemakers in state and out of state. Those winemakers may not also use a licensed wholesale distributor. They must sell their wine to every retail package store and restaurant in Oklahoma that wants to buy the wine. The sales must be on the same price basis. The sales must be without discrimination. Those winemakers must use their own leased or owned vehicles to distribute their wine. They may not use common or private carriers. If any part of this measure is found to be unconstitutional, no winemaker could sell wine directly to retail package stores or restaurants in Oklahoma.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Oklahoma State Question 743
Here is, verbatim, text I received from the local homebrew shop about Oklahoma State Question 743. I think it's important for people to be informed when they vote, so I'm passing this along ... obviously it's biased pro-wine-makers...
Posted by luke at 1:25 PM