Sunday, July 14, 2013
Yesterday I learned that next Saturday, July 20th, I am going to have a bit of free time on my hands. I had planned to attend the 31st annual Home Winemakers Classic (HWC), an event which I find is always a lot of fun. That was until I read in the Napa Valley Register that the HWC, a fund raiser for the Dry Creek-Lokoya Volunteer Fire Department, had been cancelled less than 10 days before the event.
The state Alcohol Beverage Commission (ABC) has shut down the 30 year old event after deciding that the HWC was breaking the law. What law? Apparently, under state law, home-made wine can be consumed only by family and friends. The state refused to issue the HWC a license for the one day event because it learned that wine produced at home would be poured and, in effect, sold. Sold? Yes, because asking attendees to pay an admission fee is tantamount to selling the home-made wines. Chris Albrecht, north division chief of operations for the ABC, when asked by The Register "if the name HWC had caught anyone's attention in the past 30 years?" "Well, no," Albrecht replied. And there you have it...our tax dollars at work.
So let me get this straight. A group of like-minded, wine-loving, tax-paying individuals agree to purchase tickets to a wine-tasting event in full knowledge that they cannot buy any of the wine, but want to attend the event anyway because they support the fundraising nature of the event. A volunteer fire department, desperately in need of funds to meet their annual operating costs, incurred when protecting tax-payer's properties from fire, apply (with applicable fee) to the ABC for a license to hold their annual fund-raiser, but this year are summarily refused. A government agency, only in existence because it is funded by monies in the form of taxes from aforementioned tax-payers (tax-payers who are also the fund-raisers of Mr. Albrecht's pay cheque), decides that it is shutting down the tax-payers fun, whilst also shutting down the volunteer fire department's fund-raising ability.
The government always knows what is best for the tax-payer, right? I suppose we all should be thankful that the ABC are spending our tax-dollars to save us from ourselves; keeping us from unwittingly breaking the law when imbibing in an illicit glass of home-made wine, all for a good cause. The mind boggles.