Thursday, June 29, 2006

Italian WHINE-eries

An international wine showdown is set to take place right here in Sangamon County.
SPRINGFIELD - An Italian winery is suing the state, claiming Illinois liquor law
favors its homegrown counterparts.
Villa Monteleone Winery wants a Sangamon County judge to overturn state law that
allows Illinois winemakers to sell directly to consumers, while out-of-state vineyards must go through distributors.

"This self-distribution privilege constitutes pure economic protectionism; there is no rational basis for the different treatment of Illinois and non-Illinois wineries," argued the Verona-based company in the lawsuit filed last week.

The winery claims the state law puts it an economic disadvantage.
I don’t know much about wine or economics but isn’t Italian wine going to be at "an economic disadvantage" relative to Illinois wines for several reasons? I’m guessing (and I could be wrong!) that there is a slight qualitative advantage the Italian wines have and doesn’t importing bottles of the beverage all the way from Europe mean higher transportation costs than the stuff grown and bottled here.

I guess you have to give credit to the growing Illinois wine industry if they’ve gotten this much attention from the Italians.

A couple more interesting statistics from the SI article:
Illinois is home to 67 wineries and an estimated 300 grape growers.

Illinois-produced wine only makes up 500,000 gallons of the 25 million gallons consumed annually in the state, argues Barrett Rochman of Blue Sky Vineyards in Southern Illinois.


ThirtyWhat said...

I know Pat Neighbors, one of the owners of:

I've never tried their wine (damned PKD), but people tell me the Cherry Pie Wine tastes amazing. It must be pretty good since it won 2 gold, 5 silver, and 12 bronze medals.

Still though ... amazing as it may be ... I can't imagine Illinois wines, as a whole, being that much of a threat to the Italian wine industry.

John said...

Hill Prairie Winery in Oakford is a great place to visit. It's about 10 minutes north of Springfield and is worth going for the ambience alone. They have a great old barn that's been completely remodeled. They serve a number of their wines in house that you can take in their indoor seating area or their outdoor seating area which overlooks the winery. It's a really nice way to relax with some friends. Also, a lot of Saturdays/Sundays, they have live entertainment and they host an annual bluegrass festival in April or May.

John said...

I'm sorry. In my last post I said "10 minutes north of Springfield." I meant to say "10 minutes north of Petersburg." I was getting carried away.