The Grapevine

Wine Retail Industry News – State Regulatory Battles, Climate Change, Fracking

May 6th, 2013

Industry news highlights from the past week: state regulatory battles at home and abroad, New Zealand wine and climate change, fracking and its possible effects on some wine regions, and’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry 2013. [level-members]

Add Missouri and Kansas to the list of states reconsidering their alcohol regulations. In Kansas, they are debating whether to allow sales of beer and hard liquor in grocery and convenience stores. In Missouri, the battle pits producers against distributors. And the same grocery store sales debate is ongoing in New York State.

Relatedly, but half a world away, similar conversations are taking place in Australia, with small wine producers in McLaren Vale uniting to protect themselves should laws currently under consideration pass. The laws would lead to supermarket sales of wine.

While we’re on that side of the planet, a University of Canterbury study expects the New Zealand wine industry to benefit from the trend there toward warmer, drier weather. I wouldn’t necessarily head out to corner the market on NZ wine futures – the study does concede that, given” New Zealand’s complex and mountainous terrain … some parts of the country may experience rather different temperature and rainfall trends than others.” Still, it’s interesting to note how climate change will affect various regions of wine producers. We expect to see more stories about this on-going.

Back closer to home, the fracking debate hits the wine industry. “Fracking” is short for hydraulic fracturing, a form of natural gas mining that has long been practiced in parts of the southwest and midwest, but is now getting underway in earnest in parts of the Northeast. Protesters in New York’s Finger Lakes district were arrested last month when they blocked access to a gas storage and distribution facility under that is still under construction.

Finally, on a lighter note,’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry 2013 has been published. This is the 2nd year it has been produced. We didn’t make it either …