Newsday is reporting this morning that:
"In a change that could bring even more millions of dollars to the East End's tourist economy, a new state law now allows wineries to cater weddings and other events while keeping tasting rooms and wine sales operating.
The State Liquor Authority has discouraged such activities, arguing that outside caterers who serve hard liquor at parties have a special one-day license, and that two licenses cannot be used simultaneously at the same vineyard. That has meant that wine tasting rooms had to close whenever a catered event was held - the very time vintners get a big crowd and a chance to show off their wines."
This is great news for Long Island wineries (and wineries in other regions of New York too). Anything that brings more money to wineries is a good thing in my mind. It means that wineries can become profitable more quickly (or be more profitable), which will help keep them running. Successful wineries mean fewer closing and being replaced by condos and other less-beautiful real estate. This could be a real big wine for agriculture.
Of course, there are detractors too:
"However, the change is not welcomed by everyone. The new law angered several local caterers who say vineyards already have big advantages - including a farmland preservation program that reduces their taxes if they sell off development rights - and that their big summer parties skim off some of the season's most profitable events.
"In the last few years, they [vineyards] have evolved as a player in the wedding market, particularly on the North Fork," said Diane Figari, director of operations for East Wind Caterers Inn and Spa in Wading River, adding that making it easier for wineries to host events would hurt many local caterers. "People from Hauppauge on out will probably be affected."
I've been to East Wind for a couple different events, including the wedding of some very good friends. It's a great place with good-for-catering food. But, they can't compete with the beauty or setting of a winery. And it is also extremely expensive there. They'll have to find other ways to compete with the wineries. Competition is a good thing. This is America, right?