It’s been a while since I railed against the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
Not that they haven’t deserved a good railing in the interim, I’ve just been busy with other topics, and the PLCB has been busy raiding PA bars at great taxpayer expense and with no justifiable reason, so they’ve been dealing with plenty of bad press anyway.
But this week, something got published that I had to rail against. Because, quite honestly, the news is an embarrassment for Pennsylvania taxpayers whose hard-earned cash is going to help fund a government that is supposed to be controlling wine sales in the state, but instead is taking a puke all over customer service and adding almost no value to the average PA consumer.
This news comes by way of Lew Bryson’s excellent blog Why The PLCB Should Be Abolished (hey, at least you know where he stands), recapitulating a Scranton Times-Tribune blog article by David Falchek. In said blog post, Falchek describes a friend’s encounter at a PLCB wine & spirits store in which a PLCB employee denied the existence of Cabernet Franc.
Not the existence of a particular bottling or brand of Cabernet Franc. The employee denied the existence of Cabernet Franc itself.
Yes, I am totally serious, and No, I have not been drinking…
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Earlier this week, I could have had wine signed by Philadelphia Flyers bruising legend Dave “The Hammer” Schultz.
Dave’s wine, that is. The Hammer Chardonnay. Given Dave’s playing reputation as an enforcer, I’d hope that this Chard packs at least 14.5% abv and is an oak & fruit bomb that will knock you squarely on your ass after two glasses.
[ Editor’s note: I met The Hammer once. He’s a very big and imposing man and I want to make it very clear that I am not making fun of him. Thanks. ]
Dave’s wine is part of the NHL Alumni Signature Wine Series – wines that bear the picture and signatures of hockey greats like Gordie Howe (another Chard bottling), Wendell Clark (a Canadian-only Merlot) and Pat LaFontaine (a CA Cab) – the proceeds are divvied up among a few charitable causes:
“There are three charitable components to the NHL Alumni Signature Wine Series™ wine program. First, a portion of the proceeds from every bottle sold will be donated to the charity of each player’s choice. Second, each of the teams’ Alumni Associations will receive a portion of the proceeds to be further donated to the charities of their choice. Finally, a portion of the proceeds will also benefit the NHL Alumni Association’s “Hockey’s Greatest Family Fund” which helps bring together former players to support charitable causes, assist former players in life after hockey and generally promote the game of hockey.”
The wines are made by Ironstone Winery and distributed via MyWinesDirect. I haven’t tried them yet, and I’m not holding my breath over it, either – both Dave Schulz and Bobby Clarke are legends in Philly, but thanks to the Communist-like liquor sales setup in the Flyers’ home state, those living in PA won’t be able to have the wines shipped to them. Oh, the irony…
Personally, I view this as a logical guy response to Paris Hilton’s wine-in-a-can. What do you think about celebrity wine and the NHL series? Let’s hear it in the comments!
I’ve penned my first piece for Palate Press, the on-line wine magazine that is taking the global blog-o-world by storm!
Ok, maybe “taking by storm” is a bit of an exaggeration… until I showed up and the party could officially start, that is!
Ok, maybe the whole “the party can get started now” thing is a bit of an exaggeration as well.
Actually it’s a total exaggeration – Palate Press doesn’t need me, they’ve been kicking total ass since their launch earlier this month; I’m just a straggler who finally got around to writing something almost good enough to make a cut into the article rotation. (Since I’m friends with the editor and publisher, they probably let me slide. Just this once.)
Anyway, if you’re interested in my take on the idea of Pennsylvania’s godless, communist liquor control board to poison the economy of the good Commonwealth with wine kiosk machines that automatically dispense bottles of wine after doing some sort of personal scan that I think destroys part of your soul and drains the blood from innocent babies (hint: I’m not a fan of this plan), then head over to Palate Press and check it out!
There is, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a time-honored and long-standing tradition that takes place every year.
I’m not talking about the February 2nd ritual of watching expectantly to see if Punxsutawney Phil will glimpse his own shadow, heralding six additional weeks of Winter.
I’m not talking about the amazing July 4th event that takes place in downtown Philadelphia, drawing nearly one million people together to celebrate PA’s unique place and status in the history of the United States’ liberty-based government.
No, I’m talking about the annual Harrisburg tradition that comes around every Summer, in which the PA state senate and governor fail to pass a budget in time for the next fiscal year. PA governor Ed Rendell has the dubious distinction of being seemingly incapable of herding PA’s senate into signing any budget into law before the state teeters on the verge of government program funding meltdown.
To put it kindly, the PA state budget is in a state of total crisis. The Commonwealth now faces a budget shortfall of $3.2 billion, or roughly the GDP of Mauritania. That kind of deficit is basically a guarantee of missing end of fiscal year targets, since it’s unlikely that any Senate would be happy with the level of cuts needed to reign in such a monstrous shortfall. This situation has the ability to self-perpetuate: When the state budget is not positioned well to weather a poor economy, the budget deficit grows; it becomes harder and harder to pass a budget due to the pressures of cutting programs that will piss of the state Senate’s constituents; the next year’s budget is then passed late due to the in-fighting, and thus faces more pressures and a potentially greater deficit, which means the budget is poorly positioned for the next economic storm… and the cycle starts all over again. Which is more-or-less what’s been happening in Harrisburg.
And yet, the PA state government is sitting on a goldmine that could – relatively quickly – halve that deficit. It simply lacks the courage and will to act on it.
The goldmine? Wine…
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