What Has California Got Against Wineries?

I promise I’m not going to turn this web site into the California Wine Law Blog, but for Pete’s sake, it seems like California law has suddenly turned on one of it’s largest economic players.

First it was the utterly ridiculous Proposition 65 madness that is letting rogue legal groups all but extort money from wineries.

Then it was enforcement of a law basically designed to prevent abusive labor practices against wineries letting their customers volunteer to work at harvest.

Now it’s threatening to take away the liquor licenses of wineries (and a few breweries) because they’re re-tweeting wine events held by retailers.

You’ve gotta be frikking kidding me.

But yes, it’s true. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in its infinite wisdom and generous use of our taxpayer dollars has slapped the hands of (and threatened to prosecute) several wineries and breweries who dared to retweet the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau who were alerting consumers to a wine tasting event that happened to be sponsored by a wine retailer.

In case you’ve forgotten just how archaic and screwed up the laws concerning alcohol are in this lovely country, the promotion of an alcohol retailer (or apparently anything sponsored by a retailer) by an alcohol producer violates the tied-house prohibitions enacted by many states following the repeal of Prohibition.

These rules were essentially designed to avoid monopolistic practices by anyone who managed to vertically integrate their alcohol supply chain and therefore prevent free-market pricing (and consumption) of booze.

Why our governmental agencies think they should be spending money policing the Twitter activities of our wineries is beyond me. The idea that such activity is a better use of my taxpayer dollars than say, preventing liquor stores from selling booze to underage kids completely boggles the mind.

If you had asked me, I would have suggested that most of the bureaucrats in the California state government had little idea of what Twitter was, let alone might spend time policing how wineries and breweries in the state use it.

So let this be a lesson to you, California wine industry. The government is watching and they’re looking forward to enforcing every last one of their obscure and outdated little regulations in every possible domain, including social media.

Which of course means that you’re now going to have to check to make sure that every single one of your Twitter followers is above the age of 21. Right?

Read the full story from the Sacramento Bee.