Monday, November 11, 2019

You may (not) be surprised which WIne Gourd posts are least popular

As a blog author, I sometimes check on which of my posts are popular and which not. One of my least-popular posts, to date, raises some concerns, at least in my mind, about the wine industry.

Anyway, let’s start with a picture of the 186 posts published up until the end of October. [Note: last week’s post was published at the usual time, but Blogger did not send out emails to subscribers until a day later. Blogger’s email system has generated many complaints from users, over the past couple of months.]

The posts are shown in the graph in chronological order (horizontally), with the number of page-views reported by Blogger vertically (as at 9th November).

Wine Gourd readership by post

Since most of the posts get most of their page-views within a week of being posted, there is no reason to expect that the poorly read posts in this list will acquire too many more readers. It took a while for the blog to get going, so it was a month or so before viewers increased; then there was a slow peak in numbers, after which the number of page-views per post settled down. The 10 earliest posts may never be read!

At the top end of the scale, the most popular posts are listed in the side-bar at the right of this page, so we don't need to discuss them here. My interest here lies in the other end of the scale.

The recent posts that have received fewer than c. 200 page-views are (in rank order):
The first two of these were the Christmas posts for 2018 and 2017, respectively, so maybe that is not unexpected — however, the first one does point out that the the first known commercially produced Christmas card celebrates wine as well as Christmas. The next two posts are somewhat esoteric.

So, the post that I wish to discuss here is the last one in this list. It explores the two current scenarios for online sales of alcohol, in face of the legal requirement that people under a certain age should neither order wine nor receive it.

Some of my correspondents are not at all surprised that this post has been effectively ignored. It addresses a thorny issue for the wine industry, and one that seems to be: (i) ignored by practitioners, and (ii) over-looked by commentators. The wine industry seems not to be overly concerned about the possibility of providing alcohol to minors.

Further discussion

In the interests of continuing my discussion of this topic, below I point out that the wine industry in at least one country has tackled this issue for themselves (ie. without government interference): Australia. I think that the wine industries elsewhere could do a lot worse than trying something similar.

The organization concerned is Retail Drinks Australia Limited, which is the national industry association representing the interests of all off-licensees in Australia (ie. everywhere that supplies alcohol without being licensed to serve alcohol to the public, such as a bar, pub or restaurant).

They have recently produced a detailed document called the Online Alcohol Sale and Delivery Code of Conduct. Below, I quote selected parts of this document; in particular, section 4.1.3 presents a practical way of tackling the legal requirements.
The Retail Drinks Online Code is an industry-wide framework developed in collaboration with government and community to enhance compliance in the responsible online sale and delivery of alcohol ... The Code seeks to address one of the challenges in regulating online alcohol sale and delivery, which is that liquor licensing legislation is state and territory based, but the marketplace is national.
The voluntary industry Code provides a robust, best-practice and fit-for-purpose framework governing the rapidly growing online alcohol sale and delivery market ... The Code covers all points of the direct-to-consumer process involved in online alcohol purchases and deliveries, nationally ... Signatories to the Code cover more than 80 per cent of all alcohol sold online in Australia.
4.1.3 Identification Procedures
    Retailers must adopt adequate procedures in their systems which verify that Customers are aged over 18. For the purposes of this clause, the extent and manner of the adequate procedures can be determined by the Retailer but must include more than only manual date of birth entry (age-check) by the Customer.
    Any person accepting the delivery of alcohol, either the Customer or another adult, is required to provide sufficient identification documents upon accepting a delivery if they appear to look under the age of 25.
Acceptable forms of identification in this instance include:.
  • Australian or Foreign Passport;
  • Australia Post Keypass in Digital iD™ in relevant approved jurisdictions;
  • Australia Post physical Keypass proof of age card;
  • Australian Proof of Age document;
  • Drivers Licence or permit issued by an Australian State or Territory;
  • Drivers Licence issued by a foreign country; and
  • Photo Card issued by a public authority of the Commonwealth or of another State or Territory for the purpose of attesting to a person’s identity and age.
Alcohol industries elsewhere should take note of the entire Code of Conduct, and try something similar for themselves. It may not be easy, but it does seem necessary in the Internet Age.