Wine Tariffs and Lost Ideals

wine tariffsPeople in the know have me confused. Last week w. Blake Gray was optimistic that the threat of tariffs on imported European wine had receded after French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted about his “great discussion” with Trump.

An unnamed French “diplomatic source” then told Reuters that France and the US agreed to hold off on a tariff war until at least the end of 2020. This does not mean that the other threat of tariffs on all European wine is completely off the table. But that threat was always less likely than the one specifically against Champagne. It appears that the US wine import industry has dodged a missile. For now.

That was certainly welcome news.

But then yesterday Alder Yarrow warned the threat has not receded.

There’s only one problem. All those people are dead wrong.

Yarrow rightfully points out that the “great discussion” was about the French-imposed Digital Services tax. The threat of 100% tariffs on all European wine was in response to European subsides of Airbus. Those tariffs are still being threatened.

Which is why we all need to be continuing to pressure our representatives, and in particular our senators (despite their current distractions) to push hard against this proposed trade action.

How can you help? By calling your members of congress and senators.

Here’s how to find out the contact info for your congresspeople.

Thousands of U.S. jobs are at stake as well as importers, distributors and retailers who will go out of business if the tariffs are imposed.

And Tom Wark points to another disturbing consequence of all this. Comment threads on articles about the tariffs have predictably been disgusting:

On the one hand, these comments represent the nationalist tide that has begun to sweep over large swaths of the country. On the other hand, they represent the engrained belief among another large swath of Americans that wine is a plaything of the rich and privileged. The nationalist tide is a headwind that threatens the industry’s importing contingent. The “wine-is-a-rich-folks-drink” mentality is a threat to wine sales in general. And both are hints that the current threat of 100% tariffs on EU wines has significant support among Americans—bad news for the wine industry.

As Tom predicts, a “Drink American” campaign is probably in our future:

Who would choose to carry out such a campaign? No one with an ounce of ethics. No one with concern for the American wine industry. No one with any real interest in the American wine consumer. And no one with any true appreciation for the special meaning of wine.

Since that describes about half the country, Tom’s crystal ball seems especially clairvoyant .

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