BevAlc Roundup | Follow-up on Texas Audits of DtC Shippers, 2019 to be a “Perfect” Vintage, and Better Yeast Makes Better Alcohol

Alex Koral | October 16, 2019

This last week brought some unique challenges to businesses and residents of California, with the major electricity company, PG&E, shutting down services over several days. While seeking to avoid the devastating wildfires of past years is certainly a desirable end, the power outages bring their own problems, including complicating one of the busiest tourist seasons for Napa and Sonoma. We have certainly heard of—and from—many wineries who had to curtail their services and operations last week.

For this week’s Roundup, we take a quick look at the power outages and what wineries have been doing to cope. Before that, though, we also dig into the recent decision that websites must provide support for users with visual impairments under the ADA and how that is affecting wineries selling online. And finally, Drizly released a user study that showcases the generational gaps in how people buy wine, and points out that Gen Z isn’t necessarily as tech-focused as their age range might predict.

In case you haven’t heard, the 2019 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report is available for download. Get your copy today here.

Thanks for reading the Roundup this week. As ever, be sure to check out the rest of the ShipCompliant by Sovos blog for regular updates, and we’ll see you again in another couple of weeks.

Regulatory News and Discussions

TTB Newsletter | This week’s top news includes information about the establishment of the Eastern Connecticut Highlands AVA, our new temporary voluntary disclosure program video series, seven vacancies we are looking to fill, and an information collection notice out for comment. TTB

Texas Audits Get Real: What DtC Wine Shippers Are Facing | Texas is initiating one of the biggest audits of licensed DtC wine shippers; here is a look at what the state is asking of licensees. ShipCompliant by Sovos

Winery Websites at the Heart of Lawsuits Over ADA Compliance Online | As e-commerce booms, a winery’s website might be expected to provide a virtual experience that mirrors an in-person one – and now that applies to installing ADA compliant features. Napa Valley Register

When the Investigator Comes Calling—Best Practices | This “best practices” post is intended to inform licensees, and their employees, of their basic rights and responsibilities when responding to law enforcement investigations and law enforcement interrogations. Booze Rules

The New Tariff Age | In a reactionary political climate, alcohol producers are having to acclimatise to a global trading environment where tariffs are the norm and can be implemented indiscriminately and at short notice. IWSR

Wine Institute Opposes Retaliatory Tariffs on EU Wine | Wine Institute issued the following statement today in response to the U.S. Trade Representative’s announcement that it would be placing new tariffs on imported wines from the European Union due to a trade dispute related to aircraft subsidies. Wine Institute

Industry Updates: Market Conditions and Developments

PG&E: Nearly 800,000 PG&E Customers Affected by Safety Shutoff, Wineries Adjust to “New Normal” | The company, which has declared bankruptcy, acted to prevent more fires as dry, hot and windy weather is forecast through midday Thursday. Wine Business

Despite Extreme Weather, 2019 Is a “Perfect Storm” Vintage for Wine | The harvest was “near perfect” in Napa and Sonoma—and in some places in France, where lower quantities will make bottles even more sought-after. Bloomberg

Wrapping Up the 2019 Great American Beer Festival | About 60,000 people attended last week’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, but the 2019 edition of national trade group the Brewers Association’s (BA) largest consumer-facing event may mark the last in which beer is the only featured alcoholic beverage. Brewbound

California Wineries Plan Price Hikes | Recession is unlikely, but wineries are still looking to bolster profits in the year ahead.


Scientists Speed Up the Evolution of Yeast to Create Tastier and Healthier Alcohol | Researchers across Europe have started to speed up the evolutionary process of yeast to develop new or better flavours for wine and beer.

When Whiskey Was the Backbone of the US Economy | A surplus of U.S. corn crops led to a boom in whiskey sales—and consumption—following the Revolutionary War. History Channel

Personalized Information Makes the Wine Marketing Focus Group a Thing of the Past | In the past, the focus group was a most widely used method, which may or may not have been near perfect, but it sufficed. Today, the latest digital technology may threaten to kill off the focus group for good. Forbes

Consumer Study by Drizly Paints Emerging Picture of How Gen Z Shops for Alcohol In-Store and Online | It found that digitally-native Gen Z purchases alcohol from local liquor stores more often than their Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts. Wine Business

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