In response to my writing on the 12,775% wine tax increase initiative authored by Kent & Josie Whitney, I have enjoyed my largest readership and a number of interesting comments here, in my email inbox, and in threads on other forums I visit. I thought I would share some of the wealth of feed back I have received.

The folks over at posted a headline and brief story non their site, and the lack of information caused wild speculation about the initiative. In an effort to bring the conversation back on track, someone linked to my articles.

Some of the smartest discussion of the initiative occurred amongst the Farkers:

“$5 across the board? It’s still a stupid idea. It will lower consumption in the state, sales for the growers… But the state still gets tax revenue. Woo Hoo, nobody wins!”

“Hmmmmm…. 71 cents of every dollar collected would go towards: Treatment and recovery, Support services, Naturopathic treatment and recovery, Housing and treatment facilities for homeless. Nice scam, Mr. & Mrs. Whitney; nice scam.”

“I think the [religious group] are behind this, honestly. They tasted some semblance of victory with prop 8, and I bet they’re trying to see how far they can take this morality crusade.”

“The reason given for this is essentailly the same as “It’s for your safety.” regarding any number of BS programs.”

“It’s a ballot initiative created by a Christian teetotaling husband-wife team who could stand to make money off their own initiative by getting tax money to fund a wellness clinic.”

“So they’re going to put an entire industry out of business and their workers out on the street. If only there was something you could drink when you were down and out to help you forget your troubles. oh wait…damn…”

“I wonder if these douches were involved with the beach alcohol ban here in San Diego…”

“”Money from the tax would fund programs that address alcohol-related injuries and damages.” In the same way that gasoline tax is used for road maintenance?”

“Hurray for referendum-based government.”

“As someone who lives in Monterey County where the current unemployment rate is 17.8% (seventeen point eight percent) I would have to say this is a really stupid idea.”

“If they reinstate prohibition, the money stream will dry-up. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the Whitney’s will get a dime. But even if they do get $$$, they want to use it to help people and helping people is good, right? And the best way to help winos is to tax winos, send that money to Sacramento where it will be efficiently and effectively redistributed to those best able to help winos. These programs always work, there are never unintended consequences, and the money is never reallocated to other spending initiatives that buy voters and/or campaign contributions. Let government do its job, it’s an amazing thing to witness. It’s there to help.”

“You see, the difference is that the tax on tobacco was raised by what, 100%? I’d be totally cool with doubling the alcohol tax in Cali. Hell, I’d even vote for a $1 a bottle if the money went to retire the State’s bond debt, and not a penny for the operating budget. But 12,775% to fund some douchebag’s favorite umpteenth social engineering program? Fark that.”

“Every time someone tells me that the various legislation scenarios in Atlas Shrugged are unrealistic, the next day I see some news article like this. It’s like Rand was prescient. I’m just thankful she didn’t include formalized cannibalism (IRS: “You owe us your left leg, your liver, and your pancreas, sir. Please pay now or we will have to rip out your still-beating heart.”) and zombie invasions in the book. Wait. Zombie invasions in Atlas Shrugged? Actually, that would have been pretty cool.”

“Once again, Atlas Shrugged. People should read it just so they are not surprised at the next stupid law passed.”

“It’s not “the government” that wants to do this, it’s an initiative by some group of do-gooder nutballs. A lot of people in California may be crazy wacko leftists, but even they aren’t going to vote for something like this, especially since it would establish another pot of gold for said nutballs to use to pay for their starry-eyed schemes to remake mankind. We got Rob Reiner’s version of it with a tobacco tax, and Arnold’s version of it with his “first five” program, and we’ve seen that money misused and wasted. We’re finally wise to this crap and aren’t going to vote for any more of these things.”

My favorite comment of the bunch is the recommendation of Ayn Rand’s classic book Atlas Shrugged. I shake my head in disgust at the thought of Kent and Josie Whiney’s inspired notion to take my money from me against my will and use my own money against me to limit my actions.

From Australia, a friend from one of the non wine forums where I maintain a wine thread and I had been talking about box wine, known in Australia as cask wine; our discussion inspired by the death of the container’s inventor.

Looking into cask wines, I found out that Australia is facing a tax increase on wine as well.  From our conversation:

“Australia’s Commonwealth is considering a Treasury recommendation that would tax alcohol uniformly by volume instead of the current value based tax. The result would see an increase in price of a four liter cask from $12 to $38. The thought of spending $38 on [expletive deleted] wine, because of Government market manipulation, makes me at once both laugh and want to vomit.

Here in California, two fundie a**hats have authored an initiative they hope to qualify for our November ballot that if passed would see the excise tax on all wine sold in California increase 12,775%. The Constitutional change is aimed at beer and alcohol as well, and impartial fiscal analysis forecasts a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue due to anticipated decreases in consumption. The initiative also directs that revenue be spent in very specific areas of wellness care, and surprise, surprise, surprise, the authors are invested in a wellness enterprise.

Flat regressive sin taxes often masquerade as social engineering for the betterment and improved health of all, but they are usually just a prohibitionist crusade by some religious do-gooder who thinks that Government can do a better job with your money, and make better decisions for you about how to comport yourself.”

While I felt bad for the Australians that like bad wine in a box/cask, it wasn’t until today that I realized that spending $7 for “Two Buck Chuck” isn’t the most obscene example of the effect of passage of Kent and Josie Whitney’s “Alcohol-Related Harm and Services Act of 2010”

In the United States, Franzia bills their fresh and fruity box wine as “the world’s most popular wine,” and a 5 liter box of Franzia’s Burgundy, Chablis or White Zin sells at BevMo! for $10.99.

How much Franzia box wine would BevMo! sell in California if the 12,775% excise tax increase were to be adopted by a majority of California voters in November, applying an additional tax burden of $36.04 instead of $0.20?

Here’s a possible future ad for late this year: “Franzia White Zin 5 liter box, stock up for the holidays, just $44.85!”


Nominations for the 2010 Wine Blog Awards are being accepted.  I invite, encourage, politely cajole, request, and otherwise ask my redress to head over and leave a comment nominating for an award in the Best New wine Blog category.  Hurry, There are just over 48 hours left to the nomination period.

Click here to be able to leave a comment nominating John On Wine.

Thanks to Alan, Aris, Cynthia, David, Gregg, Jodie, Kelly from Parducci Wine Cellars, Lillyth, Linda Darkhand, Linda Durst, Lisa, Metis, Michelle, Nancy, Nikki, Sandra, Scotty, Shannon, Steve, and Ursula for nominating, seconding the nomination, even twentieth-ing the nomination of for a 2010 Wine Blog Award in the Best New Wine Blog category. I truly appreciate all of your loyal and passionate support.

I have added links to all of the other nominees for Best New Wine Blog to my blogroll (found at the bottom of the right column on my site’s front page), and I hope that you will visit them if you have the time and opportunity. I do not see these varied voices of energy and passion as competitors, but partners in a shared desire to educate and entertain. In addition to John On Wine, these are the other blogs nominated in my category:

4488: A Ridge Blog

A Long Pour

Cellarmistress’ Cellar Talk

Central Coast Uncorked

Drink Nectar

Fresh & Easy wine Reviews

Isaaks of Salem Blog

Jenna & Wine

Knackered Mother’s Wine Club

KTVU Wine Country Insider

Love that Languedoc – in English

Mike’s Log, Not A Blog

my wine words

Native Food and Wine

Notes From The Cellar

One Brilliant Bottle

Organic Wine Review

Palate Press

Pull the cork

Schiller Wine

Simple Hedonisms

Sip With Me!

Southern Oregon Wine Blog

Swirl Smell Slurp: A Wine Blog

The Cork Head

The Journey of Jordan

the traveling grape

The Vino File

The Wine Detective

Undertaking Wine


Vinotology Wine Blog

vinum diligo


Wine For Blondes

Wine For Normal People

wine-life news review

Wine Harlots

Wine On The Rocks

Wine, Spirits and Song

Wines of Croatia


Yak Yak Wine

There is an incredibly talented writer who uses his vicious wit to deflate the egos of a host of pretentious wine bloggers. Known as the HoseMaster of Wine, Ron Washam has written the a hilariously savage send up of the Wine Blog Awards. I’ve provided a link below, and added him to my blogroll as well. It helps if you have read the wine blogs of most of the writers out there over the last year, but I expect that if you appreciate a sometimes caustic wit, you’ll love the HoseMaster.

The HoseMaster’s Guide to the Wine Blog Awards


I received a sample today, and I will write about it soon, but let me just say that when I opened the shipping box I was treated to the wonderful perfume of cedar. More on that in a future piece.


I also want to get back to basics and write about an inexpensive wine, easily obtainable, that tastes good and pairs well with food. That for me is at the heart of my wine blog, but there is just so much to write about living in the middle of California’s wine country that I don’t maintain a narrow focus.

I read reviews of $95 and $125 wines on a wine blog for “normal people.” Umm, no.

I recently attended a special event, and one of the wines poured was a $125 Cabernet. I wrote about the wine in recapping the event, and event recaps are one of the things I do well; but I would rather write about a Cabernet that tastes just as good for around $15.


Another thing I plan to write about is Social Media Marketing. Some wineries do it well, and other wineries make you wonder what they are paying the person they’ve hired to do it for.


Cheers all. Thanks for reading,