Monday, January 15, 2018

01/15 EDGAR "PETE" DOWNS, FAMILY WINEMAKERS OF CALIFORNIA

EDGAR "PETE" DOWNS - PRESIDENT, FAMILY WINEMAKERS OF CALIFORNIA

Family Winemakers of California is an “organization that reflects the ‘little guy’s’ point of view.” With nearly 5,400 licensed wineries in California someone needs to be the actual voice for small, family wineries in the fight for more access to markets, protecting individual freedom from government over-regulation, and fostering aspirations to make the best wine. Our beginnings are humble. Family Winemakers was founded in 1990 after the wine market order extension was voted down in a true grassroots campaign. Industry growth and public policy on a myriad of issues begged for input from small producers. One man, one vote is the bedrock principle behind Family Winemakers that guides our views on legislation, regulation, litigation and business practices. We’ve spent 25 years and counting working to loosen up the post-Prohibition restrictions in California law and broaden access to domestic markets. We are affiliated with WineAmerica to establish a channel for input on national issues and generate unity among small producers and growers across the United States. Great wine needs a market. “Free Trade for Small Wineries in U.S. Markets” was a discussion paper generated by the founders that said, “The most important and in fact the only important reason for small wineries under 100 tons to join [FWC] would be to work for the right to market directly to end users thereby by-passing the 3-tier system.”

Direct-to-consumer wine sales by wineries has been one of the main public policy issues embraced by the association. It led to Family Winemakers intense involvement in direct shipping litigation that resulted in the landmark Granholm decision in 2005. From a limited market of 13 reciprocal states, consumer choice has now been expanded to 41 states and the District of Columbia, and counting. Family Winemakers has pursued legislation over the years to create numerous sales channels for small producers that has resulted in wine being sold at certified farmers’ markets, at fairs and festivals, and through order taking at thousands of non-profit wine tastings. And FWC has said no repeatedly to state excise take increases, new fees and laws that would overly hamper business operations.

UPCOMING TASTING: 2018 Pasadena
Family Winemakers will host its annual tasting of family-produced and hard-to-find California wines on Saturday, March 17 2018 at the Pasadena Convention Center. The Saturday tasting is a one day event of award-winning small, family-owned wineries that create wines from many of the state's fabled wine growing regions.  Great Wine -- A Family Tradition!

Imagine the opportunity to taste over 500 wines offered by over 125 wineries.  You'll find upwards of 40 different varietals or blends from 60 of California's famed appellations.  If you can’t get to the wine country let them come to you! Whether you’re adding to your wine list, retail shelves or your private cellar, this is an opportunity to Taste California!

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