Wine wars rage

According to New York state law, wine is not allowed be sold alongside beer in grocery stores and delis.

The debate between New York vintners and liquor store owners over selling wine in grocery stores is once again uncorked.

As vineyard owners push to allow wine to be sold in supermarkets — it’s currently illegal to do so -— they now claim they lost thousands of dollars over the past two years. That’s because they say liquor-store owners are boycotting local New York state wines because of vintners’ campaign to end a 1933 law that’s keeping it off the supermarket shelves.

“The supermarkets have a bigger buying power, and we’d probably sell more wines in them because most people prefer one-stop shopping,” said Roman Roth, who owns Wolffer Estates in Long Island’s East End wine country. “But mom-and-pop liquor stores won’t stand a chance against these big super market chains.”

In a March 25 poll conducted by the Rochester Business Journal, two-thirds of New Yorkers said they would like to see wine stocked on grocery-store shelves next to beer and bottled water.

Liquor-store owners and underage-drinking critics rallied in Albany in 2009 against the sale of wine in grocery stores.

But wine in markets “would provide a much-needed boost to the New York State wine industry,” Jennifer Carlson, a spokeswoman for the New York Wine Industry Association, told Metro. “It would also result in increased revenue for the state.”


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