Winecast 55: Wine America’s Michael Kaiser and helping small wineries make it through the pandemic

michael Kaiser
Michael Kaiser

Michael Kaiser: I haven’t been to a winery in nine months, and it’s my job – so you can imagine how difficult it has been for wineries that depend on visitors

Wine America, a trade group for U.S. producers, has played a key role in helping small wineries survive in the first nine months of the pandemic. Michael Kaiser, the group’s vice president of government affairs, has played a key role in that effort.

Foremost among that was passage of something called the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform ACT, a long way of describing a bill to change the way the federal government taxes alcohol producers. Yes, it’s a bit esoteric, but the bill’s passage means small wineries will face a more rational tax system – especially helpful during the pandemic.

We also talked about:

• What else can be done to help for regional wineries, both on the state and local level. Because, if the pandemic continues, Michael expects to see increasing numbers of wineries close.

• The tariff, and why it’s still with us. Michael makes a fine point: The wine tariff was intended to hurt the European Union, and it has. So, maybe, just maybe, we could see some progress in getting rid of it by the end of the year.

• New laws about can wine sizes, which should make it easier to make canned wine. This might sound esoteric as well, but it means we can finally buy canned in the same size can as we buy beer and soft drinks. And you didn’t know there was a difference, did you?

Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 25 minutes long and takes up 16 megabytes. Quality is good to excellent – you’ll probably notice three or so bits where I had to edit the recording because we lost our Zoom connection.

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