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Excellent – discusses Len Richardson’s article on John De Luca and the Wine Institute – Brief Article

Excellent – discusses Len Richardson’s article on John De Luca and the Wine Institute – Brief Article – Editorial

Philip E. Hiaring

Wines & Vines has to give Len Richardson of California Farmer magazine a “well done” (more than a mere attaboy) for his article on John De Luca of Wine Institute in California Wine, published by the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

I’ve not met Len, but his article hit the ball out of the park, in my view.

What he did–and well–is point out how De Luca took the reins at Wine Institute back in 1975 and created what should be a textbook example of how to run a railroad.

What John De Luca did was significant, for many reasons.

For those who have been in the industry for longer than a cup of coffee, 1975 was the year the California wine industry killed its promotional arm, the Wine Advisory Board.

That was an incredibly stupid and short-sighted move, and wineries and growers have paid the price since thanks to the monumental greed of a few… guess who.

What John De Luca did was your basic meat-and-potatoes. Never mind the tuxedos and basic black and pearls… scrap your lifestyle yuks… all this doesn’t necessarily sway the few who can put wine and winegrapes out of business: legislators.

No question, De Luca is a political type. For good or ill, that’s what it takes these days.

What John did is get the Wine Institute membership to understand that the group had to be involved in helping create public policy, especially in the public health arena.

This is significant because advertising alone, which the wine industry barely does, won’t cut the buck.

Neither will the PR lifestyle hooey put out by the winery owner’s daughter.

No, it’s trench warfare, and the guts of the issue, sadly, is in the hands of elected officials.

Len Richardson had what I consider to be a telling quote from De Luca: “…there are no laurels to rest on, only constant vigilance.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

PHILIP E. HIARING

COPYRIGHT 2001 Hiaring Company

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group