Tag: Winery

Quit Wining

What have I always said about over-regulation? Big business loves over-regulation because it crushes small businesses. To wit:

A small-time vintner’s use of volunteer workers has put him out of business after the state squeezed him like a late-summer grape for $115,000 in fines — and sent a chill through the wine industry.

The volunteers, some of them learning to make wine while helping out, were illegally unpaid laborers, and Westover Winery should have been paying them and paying worker taxes, the state Department of Industrial Relations said.

“I didn’t know it was illegal to use volunteers at a winery; it’s a common practice,” said winery owner Bill Smyth.

The law prohibits the use of volunteer workers at for-profit businesses (as we all know, not-for-profits, especially leftie not-for-profits, are free to exploit interns and volunteers as much as they like). But huge businesses with massive profits don’t really need volunteers. It’s niche wineries like this one — open ten hours a week and turning a whopping profit of $11,000 a year — that can benefit from people freely exchanging their labor to gain some experience and learn some skills. In fact, half of their volunteers were students learning about wine-making. Hell, some people might volunteer just for the fun of it. I know people who would love to go to California and make wine for free.