The wine industry has lost an important voice in Washington.
After 16 years in the nation’s capital, Bill Nelson is leaving
WineAmerica, the only trade group that represents the entire U.S. wine
industry. Nelson, who has been the group’s president since 2005, has
fought the good fight for direct shipping, federal support for
viticulture research, and other important issues that have helped the
industry grow so dramatically over the past two decades.
Nelson is a victim of the economic recession, as membership in
WineAmerica has slipped and wineries feeling the pinch have cut back on
paying their membership dues. With HR 5034 now before Congress and the
well-financed wholesalers always looking for opportunities to turn back
gains on direct shipping, this is an unfortunate time for the industry
to downsize its champion.
Nelson looks back on his tenure in Washington in my column in today’s Washington Post