Wine in grocery store supporters urge Cuomo to reconsider

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A group of business, winery and farm groups are asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to re-evaluate his stance on legalizing the sale of wine in grocery stores, saying it could “bring the New York wine industry to life.”

Cuomo spoke out against the idea earlier this year, saying he does not believe the “benefit outweigh the costs.” Proponents say it could create an economic boom for New York wineries and grape growers, while opponents say it would destroy mom-and-pop liquor stores that rely on wine sales to stay afloat.

“New York Farm Bureau has long supported the sale of wine in grocery stores because of the enormous opportunities that it would provide to New York’s wineries and grape growers,” Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau, said in a statement. “Studies have shown that making this common sense modification in state law would create more than 6,000 jobs in wineries and related industries and produce more than $70 million in new sales tax revenue.

“It’s long past time that we remove this barrier to consumer choice and job creation and become the thirty-sixth state to make this important change.”

In a joint news release, the groups — including the New York Wine Industry Association and the state Business Council — play to Cuomo’s love of state history, comparing the wine in grocery stores bill to a 1974 bill signed by then-Gov. Hugh Carey. That bill revamped the state’s permitting system for wineries.

“Governor Andrew M. Cuomo should take the next step to continue this growth and allow thousands of grape growers and small businesses in rural towns to create jobs, by supporting the Wine Industry and Liquor Store Revitalization Act currently in the New York State legislature,” Don Tones, president of the New York State Wine Grape Growers Association, said in a statement.

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  1. The whole wine in grocery/gas station/box store debate is unfortunate. The local wine stores and local wineries (despite the misnamed grocery lobby group “New York Wine Industry Association” humm if they were right- why would they have to deceive?) have been fighting this initiative that will result in an estimated 1000 stores that sell NY wine closing and being replaced with sections in box stores selling inexpensive imported and California wine. This would cost about 4000 jobs and 1000 empty storefronts in the retail sector alone. It would also hurt our booming local wine industry. This is an economic hardship the state can ill afford. I’m glad our Governor has told the big boys “no” and sided with the local businesses.