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February 10, 2009

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I'm not going to wait for the well researched post on this topic. My experience with grocery store wine in Florida has given me enough ammo to make my opinion up.

If you like mass produced wines from bulk distributors then you'll love grocery store wines. If you like your local wine to say Bully Hill or Pindar (not that these are bad) on the label then that legislation is for you.

If you like wondering why craft wines available in liquor stores now cost a couple dollars more then in other states, then this grocery store thing is for you.

I don't want to even get into the view of winery owners (I'll let them add their two cents here) but that's my knee jerk reaction.

Bryan,

I set out to write something comprehensive, but there are so many tangential issues and layers to this. The post I've recently completed (still being edited) covers just one part of things.

The issue you're hitting (quality of wine in stores) is core to this issue. On Friday I talked to Jo Natale of Wegmans, who said, "The idea that we'd only carry mass-produced wines couldn't be further from the truth. We will be a showcase for New York wines, and we have a track record of supporting local products."

Even if she's right, there are many more stores that will be selling wine. Just taking a look at the 35 states that allow wine to be sold in grocery stores, your point is correct. Kendall-Jackson and its ilk will become far more prominent.

If every grocery store in NY state was like Wegmans then it wouldn't be an issue. I spent 20 minutes in a trance walking their beer selection the other day. Can't wait to read the post and comments though.

I do admit that Kendall-Jackson is an extreme example as Florida grocery stores do carry the latest Spanish and Chilean wines, but it does seem to drive up the price of the wine boutiques carrying more thoughtful selections.

Unfortunately we don't have any Wegmans on Long Island.

All you need to do is look at the wine list of Wegmans own restaurant, Tastings, in Rochester. 110 bottles, just four from NY from three wineries. A couple of winners and nothing for anyone else. Talk about a showcase. They can promise whatever they want but the record speaks for itself. Try finding a NY maple syrup on the shelves of any grocery story. Good luck. This is bad news for NY wineries, which is why 20 Long Island wineries are opposed to the plan.

The separation of food and wine sales is artificial. Wine and food go naturally together and it would increase overall wine sales in NY to pickup your wine with your groceries.

I've always enjoyed when I traveled out of state and could pick up some wine with my vittles for dinner. It makes for much more of an impulse buy and will expose millions more to the mystical, fascinating world of wines.

Yes, Those shelves will undoubtedly be filled with homogenized, blended, French Oaked,"New World" wine. But for many it will be their first exposure to wine and food together.

I am a winery owner in NY's Hudson Valley and I truly believe that the more wine people drink the better it is for every winery owner out there everywhere. I don't mind the competition it raises the bar on everyone. Will anyone even recognize a NY wine of unique character and individuality? I'll save that for another post.

The sale of wine in grocery stores will unfortunately put some Mom & Pop Liquor stores out of business.

The stores that will survive will be the ones that know their stuff. As a winemaker my motto is taste , taste, taste. I patronize my local wine store all the time because the guy is incredibly knowledgeable and tastes hundreds of wine a month. No clerk at Stop & Shop will ever replace him.

Jonathan Hull
http://www.applewoodwinery.com

I am a LI wine producer (Bouké) and I am against wine sales in grocery stores. It will damage NYS wine and liquor stores who carry and personally recommend local artisinal wines.

Good News!!! Wine in Supermarkets/Grocery Stores has been shot down this past week!! Thanks to an industry group>>The Last Store on Main Street<<< a retailer based group out of LI. So for now things will stay the same as they should be, with responsible retailers serving up Good Cheer!!
This is not to say that this movement is over but it certainly looks good for your neighborhood stores to continue serving the public. mrwine16

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