Proposed legislation may hinder local wineries

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A new bill could threaten the Tucson area's growing wine industry. The bill aims to restrict shipments made from local wineries to other states. Some fear the effects the bill would have on small businesses and tourism.

Todd Bostock is proud of his family's Sonoita winery, "Really good quality wine that's distinctive to our area."

Right now the dos Cabezas winery can sell it's product directly to anyone who wants to drink it or serve it. House Bill 5034 may change that by allowing states to ban out of state wine shipments. Local wineries would have to use a middle man, the wholesaler, to market it's wine around the nation.

"It's imperative we have the right once we're done to sell to people and not have to beg somebody please will you sell this product for us and if they say no then what do you do?"

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords toured Arizona's wine country Saturday. She says she will consider several factors before making a decision on the measure, "We are in a new era.  We have the Internet now.  there's a lot of consumers for example who will want to come and tour a vineyard or come to a wine area who love the wine and then want to order the wine."

Wine makers say the bill will not only hurt sales. It will also limit variety for consumers.  "This is a growing industry and we want jobs here in southern Arizona and want to be able to promote this part of the district," says Giffords.

Wine makers hope to win what they perceive as a battle between small wineries and big time distributors, "We'll be there fighting to maintain the rights that we have now that allow us to do business the way that we do it."

Congresswoman Giffords visited two other wineries and met with owners to discuss the legislation.