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Proposed Federal Legislation Could Threaten California's Wine Industry

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Photo by Foodwoolf via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo by Foodwoolf via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
How important is wine to California? Both the Senate and Assembly have committees dedicated to it. The industry employs over 330,000 Californians. It generates $61.5 billion in value for the state through sales and tourism. 90% of the nation's wine comes from California.

That's why L.A. State Senator Alex Padilla this month introduced a resolution to urge congress to defeat a bill that could hurt the California wine industry. "HR 5034 would restrict legal challenges to state laws governing the interstate shipment of wine, severely limit consumer choice of California wine throughout the nation and restrict market access for California wineries that cannot secure wholesale distribution," explains Padilla's office in a news release.

Small wineries see the federal legislation as a major threat. "House Resolution 5034 is by far the most audacious attempt ever by America's beer, wine and spirit wholesalers to takeover complete and total control of the country's alcohol beverage market," explained Tom Warn on his daily wine blog, "and, in the process, create circumstances in all fifty states that assure consumers only have access to the slim number of wines to which wholesalers decide consumers ought to have access."

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Padila's resolution, co-authored with Senator Patricia Wiggins of Santa Rosa, was unanimously approved by the State Senate today. It next goes to the State Assembly. Locally, there are around 50 wineries in the Santa Monica Mountains.