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Feb 10, 2014 11:43 PM

Banned in Boston

". . . This weekend, the Boston Wine Expo comes to town and thousands of consumers will descend on the Seaport World Trade Center, taking the opportunity to sample from more than a thousand wines or attend one of the more than 40 seminars. Besides all of the wine tables, there will be exhibitors showcasing food, magazines, financial services, travel and more. However, though they wanted to exhibit, you won't find the American Wine Consumer’s Coalition (AWCC) at this year's Expo. They were 'banned in Boston.' "

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  1. At the most basic level this is a private event and they have the rights to set the rules. As noted in the article it was initiated by Distributors and has a strong distributor influence to this date. Anyone who has participated in this event knows it is one of the largest drunkfests in the country and is not too conducive to sales anyway. Starting about ten years ago many wineries and winery groups started pulling out as this is a very low ROI

    4 Replies
    1. re: Winer

      I used to really enjoy this event, but it has been many years since I even considered going. "Drunk-fest" is a good way to describe what it's become, although there were/are some interesting seminars offered, they are pricy, and imho not worth my time money etc to come up from New York for that!

      1. re: Winer

        If this is a distributor/broker sponsored event it's not really out of line for direct-to-consumer wineries (or their organization) to be denied exhibitor status. Maybe not to the max benefit of consumers, but it's a trade event where the public is invited. JMHO.

        1. re: Midlife

          If that's what it's supposed to be, you could sure fool me! The only time set aside for the trade is early Sunday morning (9 to 11). All the rest is a free-for-all drink-and-barf fest.

          1. re: Midlife

            ChefJune is correct; that's why we pulled out of it. Indeed, none of the New Zealand or Portuguese producers I used to represent here -- regardless of what company may represent them now -- and none of their national trade delegations continue to participate.

            Indeed, very few of the PRINCIPALS of the retail stores and restaurants in the greater Boston area still attend . . they often send their "good customers," or some of their employees, as a "reward."

        2. Sure, it's a private event and the organizers are entitled to allow or not allow whomever they please. Here's what the source article said last week:

          "Carmody made it clear in a phone interview with WII that DTC operations are not welcome now, nor are they likely to be in the future: hinting that DTC companies are looking to freeload off the efforts of the Expo’s staunchest supporters and its board members who represent wholesalers and distributors.

          “I have talked to the board about allowing direct shippers like and others,” Carmody said. “The board’s position is very clear that they have invested time and money to develop and promote brands locally and that they have built a franchise. They feel that direct shippers are unfairly trying taking advantage of all that work.

          Carmody said that because of his board’s decision, the Expo would not allow direct shippers to exhibit.

          “I have to respect their position, Carmody emphasized."
          - See more at:

          While "Free the Grapes" has exhibited in the past, it's sitting out this year. I wonder if it would have been banned from participation if it had wanted to return. Also, the Expo has not banned wineries that ship DTC, despite the statement above, such as Caymus and Bonny Doon, who are in fact highlighted in the Vintners Reserve tasting.

          Guess the distributors behind the event would have a hard time putting on an expo without any wine and the wineries that produce the product.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Melanie, It sounds to me that the wholesalers may be trying to discourage 'ORGANIZED' consumer movement/awareness about efforts to stop DTC. Since this seems to be mostly a public event, they're not going to be eager to help consumer advocacy groups spread the message of their aggressive legislative agenda............. especially in an environment where people are likely to care.