Cuomo's budget doesn't include wine sales in grocery stores. Should it?
Fri, 04 Feb 2011 15:44:40 GMT —
Update 3:25 pm:
The group New Yorkers for Economic Growth and Open Markets says it is calling on the Legislature to include a proposal to sell wine in grocery stores and allow liquor stores to sell new types of products. It says the proposal would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue by charging licensing fees to grocery stores.
By opening new retail outlets for wine sales, the proposal will provide New York wineries and grape growers more places to sell their wine, a news release from the group said.
The group also believes selling wine in grocery stores would offer consumers more choices.
Katie McKenna from Tops Markets agrees.
"Any new inventory that we can introduce to our customers is always a good thing," says McKenna. "It's a good thing for our customers if we're able to give them a wider variety, more choice, and certainly having wine in our stores would be a positive thing."
CNY Central has contacted several lawmakers to see if they would support a new push to bring wine into grocery stores. Assemblyman Will Barclay says he's opposed to selling wine in grocery stores as it was proposed last year. A spokesperson for State Senator John DeFrancisco says he won't comment until he sees a proposed bill.
The owner of Vinomania, Gary Decker, says that he believes wine in grocery stores would hurt his business. He thinks he can provide a larger selection.
"I just don't want to see any business leave the state or be closed by the state just so somebody else can sell something bigger," he says. "They're not going to allow us to sell bread and milk."
Wine distributor Bobby Schell agrees.
"I want (lawmakers) to stick to their word that jobs are what's most important, and when you put business owners our of business, those jobs aren't going to be replaced," Schell says.
Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2011 budget proposal does not include allowing grocery stores to sell wine.
The original wine sales plan, proposed by then-Governor David Paterson last year, created controversy among liquor store owners. Many said allowing wine in grocery stores would hurt their business, and consumers wouldn't get the same selection of wines they do now. They also say it could cost the state thousands of jobs.
When interviewed last year, Brian Hughes of Pascale's Liquor Square said "We have as much selection as states that have wine in grocery. We have competitive pricing and the state should just move forward and allow small business to get back on course."
Liquor Square said wine sales account for two thirds of their volume and three quarters of their revenue.
Many wineries, on the other hand, were disappointed when the State Legislature rejected the proposal. Fox Run Vineyards managers said it's impossible for them to grow their business unless they have more local outlets where they can sell their wine. "Our industry is being held back from growing, expanding because of restrictive laws we have protecting a small group of people - the liquor stores," said Fox Run president Scott Osborn last summer.
A Siena College poll released a year ago says 58 percent of New Yorkers would support wine sales in grocery stores. Paterson had proposed the change as part of his 2010-2011 budget proposal, estimating it could bring in $250 million.
Supermarket wine sales are allowed in 35 states. If lawmakers want to allow wine to be sold in New York grocery stores, it will be up to them to bring it up during this year's budget deliberations.
So what do you think about this debate? Should the state allow wine to be sold in grocery stores, in order to increase availability and generate revenue? Or should wine sales continue to be restricted to specialty shops such as liquor stores? Vote in our poll and leave a comment below and give us your opinion.
Also, check back with CNY Central for more on this story later today on the NBC3 and CBS5 news at 5:00, as well as here at CNYcentral.com.