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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Friday, January 22 2010. 18:17

NY May Yet Allow Supermarket Sales

It seems only recently that Governor David Paterson’s plan to allow sale of wines through supermarkets was scuttled but another year’s budget and the talk of revival , with Delhi sitting on the proposal to allow wines through department stores, bring a sense of similarity between the two states.

Under a new proposal, Gov. Paterson plans to have New York join the 35 states that allow supermarket wine sales included more compromises for liquor stores, many of which have long opposed the idea. Of course, his motivation is the extra store franchise fee he could generate for New York, amounting to $92 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, says a report in ABC News

As expected, Grocery stores, some wineries and grape growers, and other businesses are again excited at the new proposal. This time, Paterson has attempted to sweeten the deal for opponents of the proposal by allowing liquor stores to sell directly to restaurants and other retailers, put an ATM on premises and open more than one store.

New York allows only one liquor license per business, so the industry hasn't been able to create chain stores. On the other hand the grocery franchises have expanded significantly due to no such restriction.

After last year's wine-in-grocery-store proposal included nothing to help liquor stores, they opposed and wanted some benefits too so that there might be a level playing field. The governor seems to have listened to their plea. The traders wanted that any change in the law should at least include fair trade practice accommodations for small liquor stores.

But many liquor stores, vineyards and other businesses remain unsatisfied with Paterson's plan, arguing they wouldn't benefit enough from the perks added to offset potential harm to their business.

A Cornell University report found that introducing wine into grocery stores in New York would benefit out-of-state wineries, government revenues and often the in-state wineries, but wine sales at liquor stores would fall between 17 and 32 percent.

The report also found that New York's wine industry is relatively small compared with other parts of the world, and local wineries could benefit from the change because they would have a greater outlet for sales.

Paterson's proposal would also allow liquor stores to form cooperatives to drive down costs through joint purchasing for volume discounts. Liquor stores would be able to sell wine-related publications and products, newspapers, gourmet foods and gift baskets, among other things.

Despite these changes, opponents say nothing will convince them that selling wine in grocery stores is a good idea.

A food for thought for the Delhi Wine lovers- is it possible that the local government is sitting on the proposal after making public statements with an implicit and indirect lobby from the liquor shops? In New York, people can openly oppose or even lobby. Here, there is one way of keeping the wolf away….


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