By MITCH LIES
U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., announced on his website Jan. 17 that he has withdrawn support of a bill the Oregon wine industry said could lead to a prohibition on some wine sales.
HR1161, the Community Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act of 2011, could prevent wineries from shipping directly to out-of-state consumers, the Oregon Winegrowers Association said.
Schrader, who was a co-sponsor of the bill, said he withdrew support after hearing from wine growers.
"In response to the concerns raised by our wine community, I no longer believe the CARE Act is an appropriate vehicle for regulation of alcohol," Schrader said on his website.
Only about 2 percent of the nation's wine is shipped directly to consumers, according to Charles Humble, a spokesman for the Oregon Winegrowers Association. For some wineries, however, selling direct to out-of-state consumers is a significant part of their business.
"Some of our small wineries, if it weren't for the opportunity to ship direct, they wouldn't exist," Humble said.
Schrader told the Statesman Journal newspaper in November he co-sponsored the bill because he believes in nondiscriminatory state-based alcohol regulation.
Proponents of the bill include beer and wine distributors, such as the National Beer Wholesalers.