Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Argument Against Allowing Wine Sales in NY Grocery Stores

In order to present both sides of the issue of whether New York should allow wine sales in grocery stores, I have posted views from different sides of this issue. As I've said before, I am not endorsing either side mainly because this is not a political website and I also am not clear about the impacts of this proposal intended or unintended, but it is an important issue and if you feel passionately one way or the other, please let your legislator know how you feel.

The following is a press release from "The Last Store On Main Street" that summarizes the position against this proposal. The previous post summarized the position for this proposal.

Wineries from Around New York Say ‘No’ to Governor’s Plan
ALBANY, NY February 23, 2009 – Wineries from Long Island to Western New York, and from the Hudson Valley to the Thousand Islands, have joined the fight to defeat Governor Paterson’s misguided plan to legalize the sale of wine in grocery stores, delis, mini-marts, gas stations, bodegas, and anywhere else beer is now sold.

"Winery owners know a bad deal when they see one, and we know this plan will hurt our businesses and hurt our partners in the wine and liquor stores," said William Ouweleen of Eagle Crest Vineyards in the Finger Lakes Region. "Big Box stores like Walmart and Whole Foods will stock the most popular, lowest priced brands on their shelves, leaving little space for New York wines. At the same time, wine stores around the state will be forced out of business – severely curtailing our ability to reach our customers. We urge the Legislature to reject this job-killing plan."

Wineries from every region of New York -- 75 to date and growing every day -- have joined forces with the Coalition for the Last Store on Main Street, which includes small business owners, independent wine sellers, and wholesalers from around the state fighting to stop the Governor’s proposal to legalize the sale of wine wherever beer is now sold. If implemented, this change would devastate many small businesses and cost the state thousands of valuable jobs.

"Wineries in New York have grown tremendously over the last 20 years, in large part to the wonderful partnership we have with wine sellers and liquor stores," said Bill Merritt from Merritt Estate Winery in the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Region. "We need to look for ways to build on this partnership so wineries and wine sellers alike can continue to thrive, not tear down a successful system just to benefit a few Big Box stores."

Rich Olsen-Harbich, winemaker of Raphael on Long Island, said, "This plan would not only hurt wine sellers, but hurt wineries as well. Wine sellers know our product and can provide a level of customer service that grocery stores can never match. We know that times are tough for the state, but this is a terrible idea that will only cost jobs for the wine stores and ultimately, the wineries."

Jeff Saunders, head of the Retailers Alliance Foundation and a leader of the Last Store Coalition, said, "New York retailers deeply appreciate the support we have received from the wineries in this battle. New York wineries make great wines, and we are proud to promote them in our stores. We look forward to continuing this partnership and making it even stronger in the years ahead."

In addition to the wineries, the Governor’s proposal has sparked strong opposition from the law enforcement community, which fears that providing teenagers with greater access to alcohol will heighten the risk of underage drinking and fatal drunk driving accidents.

Massachusetts voters rejected a similar idea just last year because of the devastating impact it would have had on teenagers, no state has passed this kind of measure in 23 years. In Florida, California and Texas, three states where wine is sold everywhere, the number of alcohol related fatalities per 100,000 is more than double that of New York State. Even worse, alcohol related fatalities of those under age 21 are three times higher in these states where wine is sold everywhere, as compared to New York which has independently owned licensees, legally responsible for preventing youth from purchasing alcohol.

The list of wineries opposing the Governor’s dangerous plan includes:
Long IslandBedell Cellars Bridge Vineyards Castello Di Borghese Vineyards & Winery Corey Creek Vineyards Duckwalk Vineyards Jamesport Vineyards Laurel Lake Vineyards Lieb Family Cellars The Lenz Cellars Martha Clara Vineyards
Macari Vineyards and Winery Osprey’s Dominion Palmer Vineyards Paumanok Vineyards Pugliese Vineyards Pindar Vineyards Raphael Shinn Estate Vineyards Vineyard 48 Wolffer Estate Pellegrini Vineyards
Onabay Winery
Also, Louisa Thomas Hargrave, Stony Brook Center for Wine, Food and Culture.
Hudson Valley Brotherhood Baldwin Benmarl Whitecliff Clinton Millbrook Warwick
Glorie Farm
Adair Applewood
Also, Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Growers
Finger Lakes Hermann Wiemer Ravines Winery Chateau Lafayette Casa Larga Keuka Spring Vineyards Willow Creek Dr. Frank Chateau Frank Bully Hill Hunt Country
Torrey Ridge Earl Estates Glenora Knapp Wine Cellars Imagine Moore Vineyards Eagle Crest Vineyards Rooster Hill Vineyards
Swedish Hill
Goose Watch Penquin Bay Thirsty Owl Montezuma Fulkerson Winery Hazlitt Winery Standing Stone Crooked Lake Heron Hill Lucas Winery
LaMoreaux Landing Winery
Niagara Wine Trail
Arrowhead Springs
Niagara Landing
Honeymoon Winery
Lake Erie
Johnson Estates
Merritt Estates
Thousand Islands
Yellow Barn Winery
Otter Creek
Thousand Islands Winery
Seaway Cold Hardy Grapes & Vineyard

The Last Store on Main Street is a coalition of small business owners, independent wine sellers, wholesalers and wineries from around the state fighting to stop the Governor’s proposal to legalize the sale of wine in grocery stores, mini-marts, delis, gas stations and bodegas in every neighborhood in New York. If implemented, this change would devastate many small businesses and cost the state thousands of valuable jobs. Additionally, the sale of wine in every store where beer is now available would give teenagers greater access to alcohol – resulting in a heightened risk of underage drinking and fatal drunk driving accidents.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Having lived in California for 8 years, I can tell you that being able to pick up a bottle of wine at your local grocery store or wholesale club was a major convenience. The current wine retailers and wholesalers have a monopoly. Why should independent liquor stores be protected from big box anymore than any other business in NY. If you own a wine store and truly do add value you have nothing to fear. Local wine retailers are no more special than the local electronics, sporting goods, auto repair, or hair salon.
These people have to compete in the market everday against national and regional chains, so should you. One thing is for sure,
prices on wine would come down for all. If your truly better prove it in an open market like every other small business has to do every day.