» (E) Croatian Wine Tasting in THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
|(E) Croatian Wine Tasting in THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
|By Nenad N. Bach |
(E) Croatian Wine Tasting in THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Good news everyone! Our event made the AP (though NFCA is not mentioned). John Kraljic
"Sampling a red wine from Croatia at a reception to mark U.S.-Croatian friendship, Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., described the rapid growth of winemaking in his state."
April 14, 2002
206 Join Congressional Wine Caucus
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 4:01 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Labels are everything when this group of lawmakers gets together. Not conservative and liberal, but cabernet, chardonnay and merlot.
The Congressional Wine Caucus, which numbers 206 representatives and senators, is among the largest in the Capitol. Well-known wine-producing states such as California, New York, Oregon and Washington are, of course, well represented. But so are Michigan, Vermont and Alaska. Alaska? Sure. The 49th state produces wines from berries, rhubarb and vegetables.
In fact, every state has at least one winery among the roughly 2,000 in the United States, says Bill Nelson, vice president of the American Vintners Association.
But the lure of the caucus is often simpler than that.
``How many people do you know that don't like wine?'' asked Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif, a vineyard owner who is caucus co-chairman. Every special interest group on Capitol Hill has its receptions and many feature educational trips to warm-weather spots. But in the Wine Caucus, tasting the subject matter evidently is the best way to get to know it.
``Remember, anything in moderation,'' advised Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., the other co-chairman whose Northern California district includes many vineyards.
At a recent Wine Caucus event, the aphorisms and biblical quotes about wine were as plentiful as the product: Drink wine for what ails you. The waters of the world separate us, but the wines of the world bring us together.
Radanovich and Thompson reconstituted the Wine Caucus in 1999 to lobby colleagues on wine-related issues -- against limits on Internet and mail-order sales, for more money to fight diseases that attack vines and market U.S. wines abroad.
An earlier, smaller version of the caucus existed in the 1980s, when it was led by then-Sen. Pete Wilson, R-Calif. But it faded away in the 1990s.
Membership climbed quickly from 75 three years ago because of the proliferation of wineries across the country, Nelson said.
The wine itself may be a friendly way to get someone's attention, but the topic is serious business in California, where $33 billion a year and 145,000 jobs flow from wine production, according to the Wine Institute, the California wine industry's advocacy organization.
Radanovich and Thompson will travel next month to Brussels, Belgium, and London at taxpayer expense to meet with counterparts in the European Parliament and discuss the United States' new wine-based alliance with Australia, Canada, Chile and New Zealand.
But any reason will do to join the Wine Caucus, which receives no government money and also sponsors fund-raising dinners for the Children's Hospital in Washington.
Thompson is two states shy -- Idaho and Nebraska -- of his goal of having all 50 states in the caucus. He persuaded the most recent addition, Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by emphasizing that Vermont has wine lovers and good restaurants that serve fine wines, even if wine production is not important to the state.
Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, belongs to the caucus because of his long-standing opposition to taxes on alcohol and tobacco, press secretary Amy Inaba said.
Sampling a red wine from Croatia at a reception to mark U.S.-Croatian friendship, Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., described the rapid growth of winemaking in his state.
``I don't believe I have one in my district, but I have wineries in counties contiguous to my district and that's why I joined,'' Coble said.
The Californians who run the Wine Caucus disagree more often than not in Congress, but their partisan differences end at the vineyard's edge.
At the Croatian wine tasting, Radanovich, son of Croatian immigrants, proposed recognizing Thompson as an honorary Croat. Said Thompson, ``I'll drink to that.''
Distributed by www.CroatianWorld.net. This message is intended for Croatian Associations/Institutions and their Friends in Croatia and in the World. The opinions/articles expressed on this list do not reflect personal opinions of the moderator. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, please delete or destroy all copies of this communication and please, let us know!