Morning Call: Wine shipment legislation stalls

There are bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau that age better than this.

State lawmakers might close the books on yet another legislative session before they come to grips with a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized the direct shipment of wine to consumers.

”There’s a lot of things going on” during the upcoming brief legislative session this fall, said Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, who’s been leading the charge to make it easier for oenophiles to get their hands on their favorite vino.

”This is America,” said Gregg Amore, owner of Amore Vineyards and Winery in East Allen Township. ”You should be free to ship regardless of where you live.”

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Photo courtesy of PhilaFoodie.

Capitol Wire: Winery bill criticized in House committee hearing

I continue to cover the State Capitol for Capitol Wire, a service for which you don’t have a subscription, so I can only give you a taste.

HARRISBURG (June 19) – A proposal to bring Pennsylvania law on wine deliveries in line with a court ruling would mean “a total disruption” of the state’s liquor control system, one witness told the House Liquor Control Committee Thursday.

House Bill 2165 would make Pennsylvania law compliant with a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that forbids states from prohibiting out-of-state wineries from shipping directly to consumers if in-state wineries are able to do so.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, would require all limited wineries, both those operating within and outside the commonwealth, to ship wine to consumers through the state store system. From there, the product could be shipped by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board directly to homes or businesses.

Currently, out-of-state wineries must receive a license to ship products into Pennsylvania to be sold at state stores. Out-of-state wineries that produce less than 200,000 gallons annually can receive a license to ship directly to consumers, but only one has done so, California winery Kistler Vineyards, said Lynn Benka-Davies, the executive director of the House Liquor Control Committee.

Without the bill, in-state wineries benefit from being able to ship directly to consumers with nothing more than quarterly reports to the LCB.

Pay to subscribe on Capitol Wire to read the rest. Image courtesy Sanford Winery.

I was at Mike Schmidt's wine-tasting

IT WAS IN MARCH THAT I first reported for the Philadelphia Business Journal that Mike Schmidt, one of the most celebrated third basemen in baseball history and easily one of the most iconic Philadelphia sports heroes, was launching a charity wine: a Zinfandel.

Now, I may have thought it a little funny, if only because two worlds seemed to collide, and when I went to the product’s first wine tasting for media yesterday, it may have seemed a little sillier still when I took a freight elevator to the basement and wandered passed the Citizens Bank Park groundskeepers in pursuit of the tasting. But, to be fair, as we all know, Schmidt is putting his name on the line to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis research.

Continue reading I was at Mike Schmidt's wine-tasting

Dan Soskin of Pinot: wine and dogs, 'the good things in life'

As filed – without editing – last week for yesterday’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Dan Soskin, the owner of Pinot, a wine and accessories store in Old City, wants you to give a home to needy animals.

“I have four pets of my own,” he said. “With the exception of the iguana, they were all adoptees.”

Using the visibility of First Friday on April 4, Soskin, who also has a dog and two cats, partnered with the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society to promote pet adoptions.

“Some say ‘What does wine have to do with that?” Soskin said. “Well, people who appreciate wine and good wine accessories have a heart… They appreciate the good things in life. I think pets are good things in life.”

Pinot pledged 10 percent of the night’s sales, as much as $500, to PAWS, which also found homes for a handful of animals on the night.

“I think at least one kitten,” he said. “It is kitten season now, you know.”

“We have been here a year and a half, so we wanted to do something good,” he said. “I know about the homeless population of animals in Philadelphia. It is a serious problem.”

More than 200 people came through Pinot, and at least as many visited PAWS, Soskin said.

Dogs were mingling with passersby on the sidewalk.

“They had ‘Adopt Me’ vests right in front of the store. It was a magnet.” he said. “Come in, we can talk about wine, we can talk about pets, we can talk about wine accessories.”

It was a success that may happen again, Soskin said.

“The volunteers at PAWS are great, Their whole operation, they get a lot of homes for animals,” he said. “We’re already talking about doing the same thing… It was very exciting to have the partnership go so well at the get go. I look forward for future projects.”

Photo courtesy of Pinot. Dan Soskin, owner of Pinot, and Tara Derby, CEO of PAWS, raise a glass to Snowy and some of the other dogs available for adoption at “Wines, Canines, and Felines” April 4 at PINOT’s 227 Market Street location and PAWS’ adoption center at 100 N. 2nd Street. Also pictured are PAWS volunteers Carla Schultes and Garrett Elwood, with pooches Mackey and Vegas.

See other examples of my reporting here.

Mike Schmidt launches wine for charity… seriously

What fun to cover. This a brief for the Philadelphia Business Journal today.theslugger.jpg

Mike Schmidt, the Hall of Fame former Phillies third baseman, has taken to wine-making for charity. Along with two other members of the 500 Home Run Club, former Chicago Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks and standout switch hitter Eddie Murray, Schmidt has teamed with Eos Estate Winery in California to produce three wines, each using one of the major leaguers’ names and career home run totals. All of the proceeds will go to a philanthropic cause of the athlete’s choosing. Schmidt has decided his profits will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, based in Maryland. There is the Mike Schmidt 548 Zinfandel, the Ernie Banks 512 Chardonnay, and the Eddie Murray 504 Cabernet. They can be preordered now, though they won’t be available in stores until May. A bottle is expected to cost $17.”

We’ll have a carafe of the Mike Schmidt 548 Zinfandel, maybe something in a 2009.

But, I couldn’t possibly top the press release I received.I happily shared with just about everyone one quotation I read while filing the story. It came from Liz Banks, wife of Ernie Banks and president of the 500 Home Run Club.

With 548 home runs, Mike Schmidt was such a quality ballplayer that for him to launch a quality wine for charity seemed a natural fit.”

Natural fit, indeed.