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The Regulatory Landscape
Falling on the heels of a growing anti-tourism movement, of late I've taken calls from officials in three particular cities that are now considering tightening regulations, or altogether banning the growth of downtown wine tasting rooms.
What else can officials do to make the wine business more difficult? That's what many are asking. Why are municipalities working so hard to hinder success of an industry that helps pull in millions in local occupancy taxes, and donates many more millions to charity? Answer: It's just politics.
The wine industry isn't sufficiently engaging in the debate so we have ourselves to blame in part. We have a fight on our hands but don't show up in force to planning commission meetings and support applications.
We make it harder on officials who only hear from their constituent nay-saying minority. To the credit of the officials, one thing they are doing is asking around for data and facts that might help balance the debate, but I'm wondering if opening a downtown or urban tasting room is even a good business decision in the first place?