I know I have at least a couple of winemakers on my reader list, so this one's just for you. Direct sales can be a big boon to the indie winery, and if you haven't heard of Inertia Beverage Group, you should check them out. But aside from that little plug, I have bigger and more important one. They're about to launch a free service that allows you to generate state-specific compliance forms for your direct-to-consumer sales.
The tool will be available to any winery, not just IBG's customers, and it is compiled and maintained by what seems to be a rather reliable team of legal and wine industry experts. Just imagine what it would be like if you didn't have to wrangle with state-by-state conformance laws: you'd save time, money and headaches.
Now, I'm not affiliated with IBG in any way, shape, or form (in fact, I could consider them a competitor since I run a communications studio for a living). But I've been following their blog throughout the development of this program, and have been consistently impressed with their transparency and commitment to the industry overall. The little guys need more companies working on their behalf. This kind of tool is a great way to introduce themselves to the marketplace, while advancing the cause of direct-to-consumer trade.
Despite the controversy this is stirring up (some folks just don't trust free), I hope independent wineries give this tool a shot. No, it doesn't mean you can lose your lawyer, but it sure could help make your life easier overall. I'd love to hear what you all think of this.