Wine Retailer Group Expands Amid Industry Changes
In an effort to keep pace with changing technology and business advancements, the Specialty Wine Retailers Association is widening its advocacy scope to include new industry issues.
In line with its newly broadened advocacy efforts, the Specialty Wine Retailers Association has changed its name to the National Association of Wine Retailers, the organization announced last week.
The renamed association, which also launched a new website, said it will expand its advocacy focus from promoting nationwide direct shipping—allowing wine retailers to ship directly to consumers in all states—to issues such as third-party marketing and supplier purchasing.
“Wine retailing in the United States has rapidly changed and evolved over the past decade to the point where changing consumer expectations, enhanced logistics technology, and new retail marketing channels are forcing wine retailers to change how they do business,” Tom Wark, NAWR executive director said in a press release. “The new NAWR represents wine retailers who require a voice in the regulatory and political arena able to articulate their unique interests.”
For example, the association is calling for regulations to help wine retailers, producers, and wholesalers in their interactions with third-party marketers, or unlicensed advertisers, such as Amazon.com, that are currently shipping wine to consumers in 16 states and the District of Columbia.
“One of our missions at NAWR is to make sure, to the extent that we can, that the laws that are in place allow retailers to work with unlicensed third-party marketers,” Wark said. “There’s been a number of instances in a number of states where that right has been challenged or the ways wine retailers are working with third-party marketers have been challenged.”
NAWR will also push for laws and regulations allowing out-of-state wine producers to sell directly to retailers. Currently, if a winery in California wants to sell to a retailer in New York, Wark said, it must by law go through a wholesaler or distributer.
“What that means is that the wine and the products [retailers] have access to are determined exclusively by what the state’s wholesalers or distributers decide to bring in to the state,” Wark said. “But what if a retailer could purchase directly from a winery or a distiller or a brewer?”
If NAWR is able to accomplish that through its lobbying and advocacy efforts, Wark said, then “we provide them with access to more products that would allow them to distinguish themselves from their competitors and offer consumers more of what they want.”