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      Beer and wine tax increase goes into effect Friday

      Wineries across New York State are taking inventory of their stock today and making sure every bottle is properly dated. At Lakeland Winery in Geddes, Andy Watkins says there is a key difference between wine produced Thursday and wine produced on Friday. "These bottles will be taxed at the lower rate and anything I make after tomorrow will be taxed at a higher rate, says Watkins.

      Starting Friday, excise taxes on wine will increase from 19 cents per gallon to 30 cents per gallon. Excise taxes on beer will go up to 14 cents per gallon from 11 cents. Watkins says that the costs shouldn TMt be too severe, maybe only a few cents per bottle of wine but it always makes a difference. Looking at the bottles in his wine cellar, Watkins said I can sell these bottles at a lower rate than the wine I make tomorrow."

      Wineries in the Finger Lakes have developed into a thriving business and bring in billions of tourism dollars every year. Now some are saying they have become a victim of their own success. State Senator John DeFrancisco voted against the tax increases when he voted against the current state budget. DeFransico says the last thing New York State needs is higher taxes, no matter where they are. "If we keep imposing more taxes every step of the way, we're making it more and more difficult for companies to continue here.

      Small wineries like Lakeland say the costs shouldn TMt be a huge deterrent for them or people just buying a bottle or two. Still, they say this just seems like more nickels and dimes that the state is going after.

      The state needs money and they're trying to come up with ways, says Andy Watkins. Because wine has taken off now they think it's a great time for them to add tax onto it. Unfortunately, it hurts some of the larger manufacturers."