Hi gang,

I got this from Mark Beran, owner of Medovina meadery in Colorado. I agree with him that requiring nutritional labeling on wine could be potentially cost-prohibitive and is not really going to be that helpful. I'd like you to check it out and weigh in with your opinion. Do it quick, commenting is only open until January 29, 2008.

You will find the TTB proposal attached to this post.

Post your comments here, and write your congresscritters and representatives to tell them what you think. I will be writing mine to ask them to oppose it.

Here is what Mark had to say. Feel free to crib off his wording and info, but *get involved and weigh in*.

Thanks!!

Vicky - supporting the cause of the small winery/meadery and honey providers everywhere
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I am hoping that some will be inspired to write original letters as well. This makes a big difference when a call for votes is held. The deadline for input is 1/29/08.


I sent a personalized copy of this letter to each of the following.



Senator Allard

Senator Salazar

Representative Udall



To find contact info for your Congressmen and Women just Google "write your congressman" and you'll find easy links to get this information quickly.





January 14, 2008







The Honorable Mark Udall

US House of Representatives

Washington DC





RE: Nutritional Labeling of Wine

TTB Notice No. 73, Labeling and Advertising of Wines, Distilled Spirits and Malt Beverages.



Dear Representative Udall:



I respectfully urge you to vote against the proposed nutritional labeling requirements for wine. While, I believe that nutritional labeling is bad for the wine industry in its entirety, it is particularly burdensome for small wineries and will have a significant negative impact on the rapidly growing honey wine industry. The honey wine industry is not a fad, it may well be the silver bullet for the honeybee and the American beekeeper. The honey wine industry has unprecedented potential for increasing domestic honey consumption. Two bottles of honey wine require approximately 1 to 1 ¼ pounds of honey to produce. The average annual per capita consumption of honey is about 1 ¼ pounds. By increasing demand for domestically produced premium honey, honey wine offers great hope for the American beekeepers. Today there are less than 600 commercial beekeepers with more than 1000 colonies, down from over 3000 just one decade ago. Domestic honey production is less than 50% of what it was a decade ago. These beekeepers produce 75% of the honey produced in America and are the backbone of $10.7 billion dollars in value added pollination services. One third of all that the American consumer eats would not be available were it not for the crop pollination provided by the honeybee. This industry is teetering on extinction. Any legislation that stands in the way of growth of the domestic honey industry at this critical juncture could have historically dire consequences. Honey wine producers are among the smallest wine producers in America. As I have detailed below, nutritional labeling requirements could easily break the back of this delicate emerging industry.



Without the increased demand of the honey wine industry beekeeping could vanish in America. Consumes would then switch their focus from worries about the number of calories in a glass of honey wine to why they no longer have nuts, fruits, and vegetables to feed their children.



There are two primary reasons why nutritional labeling is so negative for the honey wine industry:



1. COST PROHIBITIVE The associated added costs of determining nutritional and allergen content of honey wine and the cost of producing smaller quantities of specialized labels to reflect nutritional content are prohibitive for all small producers of wine and all current commercial honey wine producers in America are small producers. As a matter of survival, producers will be required to scale back on variety and scale up on volume. The honey wine industry in America is young and fragile. The industry is searching for the tipping point product that will provide the bridge to America’s mainstream wine palate. More regulation will lead to less product diversification and a reduced possibility of achieving our collective goal of becoming a mainstream product. More regulation could be the straw that breaks the back of the honeybee and the American beekeeper.



2. MISREPRESENTATION TO THE CONSUMER Honey is a unique natural food, one that never spoils and one that has never been synthetically produced. To lump honey into a broad category of “sugar content” would be a great disservice to the consumer. Honey contains beneficial minerals, enzymes and other compounds that are responsible for its unparalleled historic role in every human culture that ever existed on planet earth. It’s simple, 6 carbon sugars, metabolize differently when consumed than does the 12 carbon sucrose that is often added to grape wine to sweeten it or to raise its alcoholic content. Bees, when fed a diet of sucrose or invert sugar syrup (HFCS – high fructose corn syrup) soon develop diabetes-like symptoms. Honey wine producers never add artificial sugars to their products.



In closing I would like to touch on the topic of sustainability. The emerging honey wine industry, should it continue to grow, is unique in its ability serve the national alcoholic beverage marketplace through 100% sustainable agriculture. It requires no plow, fertilizer, pesticide or irrigation to produce honey, and honey can be produced in every state of the union, from Alaska, to Hawaii, to Maine to Florida. An industry of small producers of honey wine, each serving primarily the state in which the honey wine is produced would minimize transportation and the associated use of non-renewable fossil fuels. Does this congressional session care to be the one that kills the goose before it has a chance to lay the golden egg? I should hope not. Please vote NO on nutritional labeling. As a compromise, please consider an exemption, without a sunset clause, for all producers of wine than have an annual production of less than 100,000 gallons.



Respectfully,




Mark Beran, President

Medovina

Colorado Honey Wine