My Letter Regarding HR 5034 to Our Representatives

I wanted to post my letter that I wrote to Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan and Representative David E. Price, all my Congressional representatives in North Carolina.

For those of you unfamiliar with HR 5034, the resolution is a bill pushed by the National Beer Wholesalers of America and currently co-sponsored by 22 members of the House of Representatives that seeks to restrict the federal government’s ability to determine alcohol shipping policy. Their eventual goal is to get protection from the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution so that states can restrict or even prohibit direct shipping from wineries to consumers. The result will be that distributors will take even more control of wine distribution in the country, restricting our freedom to buy wine directly from wineries. What this means is you will only be able to buy the wine that is sold in stores in your area. No more ordering online. There is no logical reason to do this for our sake. We as consumers don’t need this heinous “protection.”

I’m asking for your support in defeating HR 5034. Passing this measure will severely limit our ability to choose which wines we purchase, putting our selection at the mercy of distributors who are more concerned about their profits than our choice. The many states that currently allow direct shipping prove that the current system works for us. Why take away our freedom of choice in the name of special interests?

This is an issue of individual and business rights. While the National Beer Wholesalers of America (NBWA) is ostensibly lobbying on behalf of states’ rights, what they are actually doing is trying to trample our individual rights while soliciting special favors from states. The only goal of this federal law is to eliminate any judicial recourse we would have in defeating laws that would needlessly and negatively impact wineries. It would effectively create a loophole in the explicit Commerce Clause of the U.S. ¬†Constitution.

The Constitution should be above special interests, no matter how much they’re paying Washington. Please consider very carefully how you plan to vote on this measure, as it will indicate whether you truly have the best interests of your constituents in mind.


Joshua S. Sweeney
If you want to join the fight in preventing this power grab from taking effect, you can do so by writing, emailing, faxing, or calling your Congressional representatives. If you’re unsure of how to do this, you can let Free the Grapes do it for you. Visit their site here:

Simply personalize the letters to the House and Senate members, add your address information, and Free the Grapes will determine your representatives and email or fax your letters to them for you.

Also, please join the Facebook Group Stop HR 5034 for additional info, news, and updates:

Please take time to do this. If this bill passes, and your state ends direct shipping, you will only be able to buy what wholesalers provide for you. Being able to try wines from Virginia, Michigan, Arizona, Texas — almost any state you don’t live in, really — will require actually being in those states unless a wholesaler decides to sell it in your hometown.


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