Wine politics: Oregon congressman supports HR 1161 & more!

Representative Kurt Schrader (right), whose district bisects the Willamette Valley, has taken an odd stand: he’s signed on as a co-sponsor of a bill that would hurt small wineries.

HR 1161, which we have discussed previously, would limit judicial challenges to state laws on the interstate shipping of wine (and beer and spirits). If this bill were to pass, it could impact wine shipments negatively and irrevocably. Consumer choice could be reduced; many small wineries depend on the wider margins of direct sales to keep in business. HR 1161 was written by beer distributors.

While distributors are well-organized and the bill has over 100 sponsors, wine consumers might have thought they could consider on representatives whose districts include wine production as allies. Apparently not.

Vintners in Oregon’s fifth district are dismayed, as the Statesman Journal reports. “This is all about money,” Jim Bernau of Willamette Valley Vintners said. A spokesman for Schrader said the representative “does not allow contributions to his campaign (to) impact the decisions he makes on questions of public policy.”

In other wine and money news, Steve Grossman, Massachusetts state treasurer whose office regulates liquor sales, raised $45,000 from the industry at an event last month according to The sum represents a quarter of the total he has raised this year. Few out of state wine retailers will ship to Massachusetts as a result of its wine shipment laws and a federal court had to overturn state policy that limited wine shipments. An aide to Grossman said it will not affect his policy decisions.

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10 Responses to “Wine politics: Oregon congressman supports HR 1161 & more!”

  1. Wow. When is this guy up for re-election? It’d be nice to see somebody like Eric Lemelson throw some of his $$$ muscle behind a rival.

  2. Further proof that the elected officials in this country are idiots.

  3. Not idiotic, just for sale.

  4. […] Rep. Kurt Schrader [D-OR], whose district includes the Willamette Valley, has signed on as a co-sponsor HR 1161. Absolutely despicable – and very, very odd, considering it’ll hurt so many of his constituents. Tyler Colman has the details. […]

  5. As a small winery owner in Rep. Schrader’s district, I am baffled at his position on this issue. I’m even less pleased that he hasn’t even bothered to respond to my email on the issue.

  6. If you want his attention, don’t send an e-mail, send cash money!

  7. Maybe Oregon wineries could fund a PAC, but instead of lining the pockets of a politico middle man and then crossing your fingers, have it make payments directly to Oregon Alcohol distributors. It might be cheaper to pay only the owner of the distributorship in cash. This is a good idea !

  8. The chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice has written to Lamar Smith and John Conyers (of the House Judiciary Committee) to oppose HR 1161.

    See his letter here.

  9. Schrader the traitor’s district now includes close to 50 wineries and nearly 100 vineyards. Spanning Polk, Marion, Clackamas, and part of Benton counties. Most of these wineries are small, family run operations.

    Schrader the traitor’s action to support this bill shows a stunning lack of respect for his own constituency.

    Writing letters to this man is a waste of time. Start a recall petition.

  10. This is wrong, just wrong!


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