Newsflash, March 21, 2013:
LANSING — Governor Rick Snyder has declared April as ‘Michigan Wine Month’ to honor Michigan’s wide selection of quality wines and the wine industry’s significant contribution to the economy…
I was sent this press release by Karel Bush, a woman who I love and respect even though she is beholden to state politics via the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and has to send it.
In fact, she has sent it every year since the Battle of Hastings, when William the Conqueror became King of England.
Which gives you a slight idea of why I don’t throw ticker tape parades when I receive it: The Governor always ‘declares’ April ‘Michigan Wine Month’, so it is about as newsworthy as when the Governor declares May ‘Michigan Brown Bat, ‘The Other White Meat’ Month’ like he has done every year since Caligula started diddling his sisters and appointing his horses as priests.
By the way, I am using the masculine pronoun ‘he’ in the above sentence because I am too cranky to think in terms of ‘gender-neutral’ and too lazy to write ‘he and/or she’—although, for the record, in everything else I will always use four words when one will do—as I have done every year since Christ was critiquing the carpentry work done on His cross.
Indeed, our last governor was a woman, and one I sort of dug; not necessarily for her politics, but because, other than a pre-cancerous mole on her cheek, she was sort of hot. Current Governor Rick Snyder is the antithesis of hot. He is a sniveling, smarmy, geeky, preppy, career politician—and worse, he is an unnerving ‘high achiever’ who could probably sell Marlboros to a hospice. And believe me, there is nothing that pisses off an unnerving low achiever like me (who couldn’t sell dope to a junkie) more than somebody who earns three college degrees by the age of 23 and was, in 2012, considered for the Vice Presidency of the United States.
Plus, his name rhymes with ‘spider’. Enough said?
But all that’s personal, and I like to think of myself as someone who sees ‘The Big Picture’. Not the gihugical picture of George W. Bush’s wanker that hangs over Snyder’s desk, but whether or not his economic policies actually help Michigan’s wine industry.
I’m in the ‘not’ camp.
Like most multi-millionaire Republicans, Snyder has never met a big business tax cut or special interest group’s special interests he didn’t like. In December, for example, during the State Legislature’s frenzied lame duck session, Snyder officially made Michigan a right-to-work state despite twelve thousand proletarian protestors screaming outside his office. What they knew, Snyder certainly knew and probably better: Eight of the 10 states with the highest poverty rates are right-to-work. The legislation was a cave-in to union-hating mega-corporations of a magnitude not seen since Florence Nightingale discovered the joys of smoking opium.
Meanwhile, most Michigan small business owners oppose expanding Medicaid coverage as proposed by Governor Snyder in his recent budget address.
We don’t have any Ernest and Julios here in Michigan; the vast majority of our wineries produce less than five thousand cases annually, so any legislation that favors big over small—and let’s be honest, Lilliputian—business interests does not seem to warrant the pats-on-the-back credit that Governor Snyder is absorbing for his obligatory, stupid ‘Wine Month’ proclamation.
From my admittedly limited eyrie, I see that the steady increases in sales of Michigan wine are happening in spite of—not because of—Governor Snyder.
Now, Some Good News for We Michiganistani…
In 2012, in-state sales of Michigan wine rose more than 6% while total wine sales increased a mere 1%. Michigan wine sales have outpaced total wine sales over the past 10 years, doubling Michigan wineries’ market share to 6.5 %.
Eleven new Michigan wineries opened in 2012, bringing the state total to 101. How cool is that? Ask the million visitors that descend upon Michigan winery tasting room every year.
And how valuable is that? At last count, Michigan’s wine and grape industries contribute more than $800 million to the state’s economy annually.
You want a back to pat? Try a few folks who really have the industry’s back:
Try Cortney and Shannon Casey’s, whose Michigan By The Bottle blog and podcasts focus entirely on Michigan wines and whose newly opened Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room in Shelby Township does the same—only in a somewhat more lip-smacking manner.
Try John Lossia of Merchant’s Fine Wine’s, whose selection of Michigan wines is, I believe, the finest in the state.
Try Karel Bush’s, whose ceaseless promotion of Michigan wine continues through rain and sleet and gloom of night. Sort of like the US Postal Service, only without the disgruntled mass murderers.
Try the collective backs of Walter Brys (Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery), Jeff Lemon (Lemon Creek Winery) and Martin Lagina (Villa Mari) who sit on the The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council Board to represent winery interests.
But, for the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, not the back of he whose poll numbers have tanked to such a hilarious nadir that in hypothetical reelection contests, every proposed Democrat tested—even ones who those canvassed had never heard of—showed a better chance of winning.
That’s right: Governor Rhymes With Spider.