[PDF] The Myth of the Family Winery: Global Corporations – Alcohol Justice
Hiding behind a narrative of local, family-owned wineries, … While the wine industry perpetuates myths about wine as a product, it also promotes many …
Note: This report was completed in 2009. Since then more consolidation has occurred. The Institute is looking into updating this report next year. In Sonoma County 70% of production is from 12 wineries according to county records.
Global Corporations Behind California Wine
The California wine industry promotes an image of small mom and pop vintners in picturesque, rolling hills and valleys of Napa, Sonoma, and around the state. In reality nearly all of the
leading wine producers in California are massive corporations that are integrated with “Big Alcohol,” multinational conglomerates promoting and controlling politics in Sacramento and
as Diageo and Constellation Brands, has created a multitude of media messages with little science
but great marketing hype. These messages portray wine as a healthy, less-potent, friendly variety
of alcohol, even though five ounces of wine contains the same amount of alcohol as 12 ounces of
beer or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.1 Wine plays a crucial role alongside beer and distilled spirits as
part of Big Alcohol. Seven wine companies produce 82 percent of all wine sold in the U.S., and six
of these are global corporations. Seven of the top ten wine companies (by U.S. sales) are also global
corporations with wine, spirits, and beer brands integrated into their product portfolios.
While the wine industry perpetuates myths about wine as a product, it also promotes many inaccurate
perceptions about its own role in Big Alcohol’s agenda. At the same time that wine comprises nine
percent of total annual beverage alcohol gallons sold in the U.S. and 15 percent of annual retail
dollar sales of beverage alcohol,2 the wine industry spends millions of dollars in lobbying and public relations to exert powerful influence on behalf of the entire alcohol industry. The image the
industry promotes to the public is one of small, local wineries benefitting their communities and the state of California. Running parallel to that image is another fallacy: that the U.S.
alcohol control system is dragging wine companies to near-extinction with regulations including taxation and restrictions on direct shipping. Big Alcohol promotes and benefits from the
misperception of wine owners as the local, entrepreneurial “little guy,” beaten up by the government and misunderstood by the public. This report dispels these myths and identifies the
major wine players in Big Alcohol along with their political interests and influence in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C………………
(See link for rest of study) https://alcoholjustice.org/images/reports/winemythreport