Decipher PLCB Clues, Taxpayers Lose

Clue gameDo you remember playing the board game Clue?  It was one of my favorites as a kid; I loved deducing who committed the crime, in what room, and with which weapon (Professor Plum! In the library! With the candlestick!).

Turns out PLCB officials are playing their own version of Clue, but in this version the casualty is Pennsylvania taxpayers.  You’ll recall that the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently uncovered that the PLCB spent more than $7 to 10 million to copyright, brand, market, and sell wine that competes with Pennsylvania wineries and other private businesses.  How did this brand come to be?  That’s where the game of Clue comes in.

A glut of grape juice, a number of suppliers and samples, all judged by a panel of customers and license holders, is the story behind the creation of TableLeaf wine, says PLCB executive director Joe Conti.  But wait, the PLCB marketing director has a different theory!  Jim Short’s story goes like this: the PLCB originated the brand idea, one vendor was selected, and then PLCB employees and a trade association tasted the samples from the one selected vendor.

So which story solves the Clue?  Neither!  When the Tribune-Review contacted representatives from the advisory council and trade association, all denied being a part of the selection process.

Call this one the Crime of TableLeaf Wines.  Whodunnit?  Who knows?  This time it’s not a game, and there’s no envelope containing cards revealing the correct perpetrator, room or weapon.

The one thing we know for certain: The victim once again remains the taxpayers and consumers of Pennsylvania.