Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Today, the New York Wine Guy connected some very important logistical dots. If he's right, and he may well be, it will spell the end for small wineries around the state. A shake out will begin to happen before the end of the year.

You can read his blog at:

In it Wine Guy reasons that 1. Cuomo tapped Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy for his Lt. Governor. Duffy is from Rochester and understands the value of the wine industry. And he's been tapped to help rebuild the upstate economy, which may position the wine industry to benefit from Cuomo’s economic plans. 2. Cuomo appointed the pater familias of Wegman's, Danny Wegman, to the Upstate Business Council. Conveniently, this council is headed by friend, Bob Duffy. According to Wine Guy, it’s a safe bet that this council will eventually address the issue of wine sales in grocery stores.

Where my fellow blogger is wrong, is that he thinks "it would mean a significant revenue boost for New York wineries. A greater emphasis on the wine industry in Albany would be nice, but selling wine in grocery stores is a start." And I am sorry, but that's bullshit.

An emphasis on growing the wineries is a great idea. Where's some tourism dollars? Where's the funding that wineries in Maryland and Virginia, and other states are getting to promote their wine industries and tourism?

Now, I've played many games on the playground, and I know the old rubric, of "Money talks, and bullshit walks," But this is too much.

Name which wineries will actually score big?

I can tell you who: The five largest wineries in the state, one of which will be Canadaigua, then it will be California, Australia, Chile, and Argentina. I used to live next to a Wegmans. They sold four or five NY state wines, and then the rest were everything else - from Cakebread and rare French Bordeaux's and Burgundies to Yellow Tail and Franzia. I've had someone tell me fromone of these larger wineries that with my own winery I could probably sell a couple of deli's that I couldn't get in before. Gee thanks!
Where's the revenue boost? Wegaman's will get a sweetheart deal on taxes, and pay into the coffers, and a number of smaller, ill equipped wine stores will bite the dust. When the small stores faulter, the small wineries will faulter as well. It's only the big store chains that will make something happen.

The reason the wineries haven't helped make this deal happen yet is pure and simple - in the main it won;t help the NY wineries, or they would already have gotten it done. Out of the more than 300 wineries in NY state, Wegman's has only ever carried five or six. What happens to the other 294? Apparently the governor doesn't care?

I hope this isn't true, but it seems to me that the wineries and the liquor stores better call their local congressmen fast, and voice objection to this kind of politics.

I say to Duffy and Cuomo, let's have a meeting. Let's have a discussion? Ask a few dozen winery owners to the state capital. Let's see what they say.

I say to the wineries - better get off your hands, or someone will chop them off for you.