The Ugly Underbelly of Wine and Politics

By Tom Wark

Question: What’s it cost to buy a legislator in Ohio?
Answer: $2,500.

This is how much the Wholesale Beer & Wine Association paid Ohio Representative Mathew Dolan just days before he went to bat on the wholesalers’ behalf to prevent new rules from passing that would have opened up the Ohio market to wineries from across the nation that wanted to sell directly to retailers and restaurateurs.

Such direct sales are the wholesalers’ nightmare as they essentially dismantle the state-imposed mandate that all wine be sold through a middleman before it gets to the consumer.

As I’m mentioned here before, this blogger can see zero reason for the state to create an artificial market for wine middlemen. If they can prove their mettle in an open market (which I’m sure they can), then why not ask them to, just like everyone else is expected to?

Instead, the Ohio wholesalers pay out literally more than $1 million to legislators and politicians to assure that their contrived position in the market is maintained.

This is an important issue to anyone who is concerned about the price of the wine they want to buy — or simply about economic fairness.

THIS article in the Columbus Dispatch could be written about the politics of graft and political payouts in just about ever state in the U.S. Read it closely and get upset.

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Reader Comments

If all the winos in Ohio donated a couple dollars, we’d have lots more than $2500 and maybe we could out bribe the idiots in charge of our state.

Isn’t it kind of funny that just last week the Ohio governor signed “Merlot to Go” bill that will let diners take home open bottles of wine? Now they follow-up with legislation.

Sorry found this page while searching for wholesale beer and wine association - do you have the url for their website ?