Tuesday, March 03, 2009

No Wine In New York Grocery Stores

There is no doubt that the proposed law to allow grocery stores to carry wine helps grocery stores and large volume, high discount wine producers (from New York, maybe, but much more so California, Chile, etc.). Few, if any, New York State wineries will benefit from this new legislation. Grocery stores will fill their shelves with inexpensive brands and box wines. It will indeed throw the liquor industry into a tail spin. Perhaps it is evolution.

But I think it is not.

The real fact of the matter is that Albany and Governor Patterson are acting in their own best interests. The state, in the long run, will not earn one more red cent from liquor sales taxes. Because wines are suddenly available in grocery stores, does not mean sales will go up.

The truth is that Albany is interested in the windfall. The state will collect hundreds of millions of dollars in windfall from licenses and fees from all the grocery stores. These are a one time profit. The state doesn't particularly care that they are putting out of business people who have already paid for licenses like existing wholesalers and liquor stores.

Patterson and the other legislators in Albany will parade around their ill-gotten gains touting their ingenuity, which in truth will not be gold, but will be the scalps of liquor store owners who've gone out of business, many of whom have supported NY state wine.

A vote against this kind of legislation is a vote for more local wine. Pour local. Drink local.