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California Wine Lines Up Against Federal Bill (Credit: Myrow)

California Wine Lines Up Against Federal Bill (Credit: Myrow)

Many small and mid-size wineries are sour on proposed legislation in Washington DC that could make it difficult, if not impossible, for them to ship product directly to consumers. Portfolio reports H.R. 5034, backed by alcohol wholesalers, would give more power to individual states to regulate alcohol sales and distribution.

That would uncork a host of opportunities for wholesalers to circumvent a decision five years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court that essentially requires states to treat in-state and out-of-state wineries equally. That ruling was a big win for California, which produces about 60% of the wine sold in the US.

Wine industry players big and small are mobilizing against the bill, along with Mike Thompson (D-North Coast) and George Radanovich (R-Central Valley), co-chairs of the Congressional Wine Caucus.  The Washington Post says the bill is unlikely to go anywhere, not so much because of ground level activism from groups like Free the Grapes, but because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) owns a vineyard. (11 Zinfandel Lane in St. Helena).

Feeling stressed?  You're not alone if you live in California.  The Associated Press reports California - along with Nevada and Michigan - is home to the most economically stressed counties with populations of at least 25,000. The index measures unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. The top/bottom four in-state:  Imperial, Merced, San Benito, and Sutter.  Just in case you were feeling irrationally exuberant because of the beautiful weather today...

Even more stressed: Elon Musk, chief of Tesla Motors.  That's because today's the day his divorce trial kicks off in Van Nuys.  VentureBeat ventures he could lose control of the company, if his wife wins enough stock. Not to mention Musk’s other companies: SolarCity and Space Exploration Technologies.

BTW, it's not official official, but it looks like Tesla chose Downey over Long Beach for its Model S manufacturing site.  The Downey Patriot reports Tesla has submitted plans to the Department of Energy that detail a Downey facility.

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About Rachael Myrow

Rachael Myrow hosts the California Report for KQED. Over 17 years in public radio, she's worked for Marketplace and KPCC, filed for NPR and The World, and developed a sizable tea collection that's become the envy of the KQED newsroom. She specializes in politics, economics and history in California - but for emotional balance, she also covers food and its relationship to health and happiness.

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