In recent days we have had two college-based public opinion polls that say the opposite of each other when it comes to the matter of selling wine in supermarkets in New York State.
Does that really mean anything? I doubt it, other than the fact the University of Buffalo (the poll that says a slight majority of New Yorkers oppose such a measure) and Siena College (the poll that says the opposite) got some press and PR people on both sides of the issue got paid.
The measure before the State Legislature seems to have sunk with barely a ripple in the little time remaining in this legislative session, one that is dominated instead by such matters as same-sex marriage, New York City rent control and (hah, hah!) government ethics.
Barring a late revival of legislative interest — perhaps as part of a vote-swapping deal that always seems to pop up in the last-gasp session hours, we can wave goodbye to the whole topic until another state budget battle is launched next year.
Meanwhile, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-I-C, Batavia) that has passed the Assembly would allow New York State’s wineries to become more competitive in-state and abroad.
Assembly bill 7828-A, which still needs to pass the Senate and gain Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature, repeals a number of mandates Hawley says will “streamline the licensing process and encourage the growth of this booming industry.”
“Wineries and grape-growing farms are cornerstones of New York’s agricultural industry,” Hawley said. “By reducing the red tape that owners of these businesses must sift through in order to become properly licensed, these establishments will save time, money and resources that will encourage existing operations to expand and new businesses to open.
“As a sponsor of this legislation and a member of the Committee on Agriculture, I commend my colleagues for helping me achieve these sorely needed, procedural reforms for our wine industry.”
The bill would:
- Allow the owner of a winery license to sell wine in bulk to wholesalers, retailers and other major distributors;
- Authorize a winery to manufacture, bottle and sell various fruit products on-premises;
- Allow wineries and farm wineries to charge event operators for the use of their premises; and
- Reduce the number of specialized licenses for wineries and farm wineries, providing a more efficient registration process.
Check out my New York Drinks Events Calendar, the most comprehensive you’ll find anywhere.