(Editor's note: The following is a review of the fourth and final state question to be posed to voters on Nov. 4.
Looke to page 5a of this edition to see a sample of the two-sided general election ballot.
Legislators tried various bills during the 2008 session to protect and invigorate Oklahoma's fledgling wine industry after the court reversal of the 2007 amendment.
House Democratic leader Danny Morgan of Prague, who authored the proposed question with Elk City Sen.
Tom Ivester, said it is a compromise that brought together all parties involved in the production, distribution and sale of Oklahoma wine.
Although there has been little publicity one way or another, Morgan said, “I know of no organized opposition.”
Morgan said the 10,000 barrel limit and restriction against use of a common or private carrier for delivery, a compromise with wholesalers, is based on a consensus that larger production would need to go through wholesalers.
He said it wouldn't make economic sense to deliver a pickup load from Broken Bow to Guymon, “but if a wine became well enough known it might be profitable to sell it through a wholesaler.” Wholesalers charge a 22 percent fee, which could make Oklahoma''s wines as expensive as some from California.
“We tried to protect Oklahoma wineries from an onslaught from big wineries like Gallo,” Morgan said.
The question will appear on the Nov. 4 statewide ballot as follows:
State question 743
This measure amends Section 3 of Article 28 of the Constitution. It requires a customer to be twenty-one and physically present to purchase wine at a winery, festival or trade show. The measure changes the law to allow certain winemakers to sell directly to retail package stores and restaurants in Oklahoma. The change applies to winemakers who produce up to ten thousand gallons of wine a year. It applies to winemakers in state and out of state. Those winemakers may not also use a licensed wholesale distributor. They must sell their wine to every retail package store and restaurant in Oklahoma that wants to buy the wine. The sales must be on the same price basis. The sales must be without discrimination. Those winemakers must use their own leased or owned vehicles to distribute their wine. They may not use common or private carriers. If any part of this measure is found to be unconstitutional, no winemaker could sell wine directly to retail package stores or restaurants in Oklahoma.
A “yes” vote supports the proposal.
A “no” vote expresses non-support.