Letters

Letters 08-22-2016

Historically Wrong In regard to Mary Keyes Rogers’ column about the downtown charter amendment, neither Samuel Adams nor Thomas Jefferson were at the Constitutional Convention...

The Film Possibilities I was surprised that none of the Traverse City Film Festival films addressed the most pressing and dangerous issue of the day: radical Islamic Jihad. Perhaps a storyline could have illustrated how the West brought this on themselves, or if we could only find jobs for those fellows! Perhaps put it down to global warming...

Helmets Save Lives The facts are in. Wearing a helmet is the most effective tool to save your brain in a motorcycle accident. The bonus? Helmets also save hearts. Nearly two yrs ago, on Aug. 26, 2014 our son lived...

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Mark L. Ribel

 
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Thursday, August 11, 2005

The real threat to Michigan wineries comes from out-of-state

Other Opinions Mark L. Ribel Considering his position as a paid spokesperson for a northern Michigan winery, Rick Coates’ biased, misleading commentary on the Internet alcohol sales/direct shipment debate is certainly understandable, yet still unacceptable (“Grapes of Wrath,” July 17, 2005). His slanted interpretation of the legislative response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision fails to acknowledge the very real threat to Michigan businesses -- including Michigan wineries -- and to the state budget if we open the doors to a flood of out-of-state alcohol vendors.
To fully understand where we are headed, we must clarify where we have been on this issue. Michigan’s wholesalers have long supported Michigan’s wineries‘ right to sell their product. They supported the initial law that carved out a special exemption on shipping for in-state wineries, they spent more than a quarter of a million dollars defending this special exemption in the courts, and they even finance the Michigan Grape & Wine Council through wholesaler licensing fees. Even the proposed prohibition on Internet and mail order alcohol sales and direct shipment would allow wineries to sell their wine at the winery premises, at properly licensed tasting rooms and at restaurants located on or adjacent to the winery premises.
Specialty wine producers are not the only businesses with a stake in the outcome of this issue. Distributors -- such as myself -- provide a number of good-paying jobs for our community, including drivers, warehouse workers and administrative staff. Around the state, distributors employ more than 5,000 people, with wages and benefits exceeding $240 million. Statewide, distributor businesses’ sales exceed $1.5 billion, we pay more than $11 million in SBT, property taxes and fees, and we contribute another $4 million to local charities and community events.
 
 
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