There are almost 70 wineries in Indiana. I say almost, because as soon as I count, another one or two open. Almost every corner of the state can now boast one or more wineries, and those corners surround a concentration of wineries in the South Central part of the state. Clearly Hoosiers have become friendly to wine and the people who produce it, because only a couple of decades ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find more than a couple dozen wineries open to the public.
Recent polls show that more than half of all the state’s citizens approve of the wine industry, and that industry now generates more than 33 million dollars of revenue for the state’s coffers. Data like these suggest that Indiana would welcome this flourishing enterprise. Instead, her governing bodies seem to complicate purchasing opportunities for the consumers who support these hard-working producers. For example, state law prohibits wine sales on Sundays except on winery premises.
Law makers claim that such sales interfere with family worship time or open wider opportunities for underage drinking or that their constituents don’t want Sunday sales. They ignore that shopping centers and sports events already impact on family worship time, that underage drinkers don’t really need more opportunities to obtain alcohol from public venues, and that a majority of their citizens say they would like Sunday sales. It is true that smaller retailers tend to oppose Sunday sales because they can’t afford to staff their shops for another day and they can’t compete with the big retailers. Indiana isn’t alone, however, in banning wine sales on Sunday; there is one other state that also does so.
Not long ago, selling wine in supermarkets and grocery stores was unthinkable. Somehow, the idea caught on, and Indiana still has not gone under because of it, though, I suspect, there are those who think it might if we allow those supermarkets to sell their wines on Sunday.
True, I can purchase my wines for Sunday use on Saturday or any number of days ahead, just as I could my shoes, my canned goods, or my milk. But no one seems opposed to opening the shoe store on Sunday. Neighboring states fought long and hard to prevent Sunday liquor sales but finally capitulated without dire consequences, albeit by requiring a ban till noon. In fact, places like Louisville and Cincinnati appreciate Indiana’s prohibition on Sunday wine sales.
Or, perhaps we should adopt our legislative attitude that 33 million dollars are quite enough; there is no need to be greedy and generate still more revenue by adding additional sales time on the week’s second busiest shopping day.