Drunk with (Government Interference) Wine

March 20, 2012

Inside Insight

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S.C. Rep. Eric BedingDrunk with (Government Interference) Winefield says he’s ecstatic about a bill passed late last month that allows South Carolina wineries to use more out-of-state fruits, berries and juices in their wines.

The legislation allows the state’s dozen or so wineries to produce wines that include up to 60 percent of out-of-state fruit or juices – up from 49 percent previously.

“Believe me, it really has nothing to do with my knowledge of wine or the wine industry and has everything to do with the entrepreneurial, small business folks coming to me and saying, ‘We’re at a competitive disadvantage of neighboring states whose wine industries have grown,’” Bedingfield, R-Greenville, told The State newspaper.

However, the question naturally occurs that if South Carolina solons want to help the state’s wine makers, why place any limit on the amount of out-of-state fruit or juices they can use in their products?

The Palmetto State’s warmer climate, humidity and elevation are not conducive to the grapes used in the most popular wines, including merlots, chardonnays and pinot grigios, according to The State.

In addition, muscadine and blackberry wines that state growers can produce are popular with just a small segment of the consumer market, according to the publication.

So while the new law may ease some of the burden for the handful of wineries in operation around South Carolina, legislative restrictions are still likely keeping additional entrepreneurs and investment out of the marketplace.