Politicians searching for a way to jump-start South Carolina’s wine industry are considering allowing wine made from non-South Carolina grapes to be labeled as South Carolina wines. The reason for this is not so much a shortage of grapes as it is an inability to grow commercially familiar grapes in South Carolina’s hot, mildewy climate. As one winery operator said of the requirement to use local grapes:
It truly limits our market. What consumers want, South Carolina farmers can’t produce. And what South Carolina farmers can produce, consumers don’t want.
South Carolina’s legislators believe that allowing wineries to buy grapes from other places will spur the growth of the state’s wine country tourism, imagining that wine lovers flock to the state to watch crates of grapes being offloaded from trucks and freight trains.
UPDATE: In comments, Thomas Pellechia raises a knowledgeable point of regulatory order, to which I respond calmly, while resisting the strong temptation to use the word “insane” to describe the politics of South Carolina.