WINE IN NEW YORK SUPERMARKETS? WOAH WOAH WOAH!

Plonk may have a new home in New York

Plonk may have a new home in New York

So it seems we have our own little budget gap here in New York as well. It is by no means the massive $41.6 billion issue ol’ Arnold is dealing with over in Cali but it is a considerable $15 billion.

And Paterson like Schwarzenegger is targeting the wine industry.

But this one is a little bit different:

“David Paterson wants to uncork a plan to let grocery stores sell wine and champagne as a way to raise state revenue and promote New York wineries.”

In my experience the states that allow this have some of the most embarrassing selections of wine I have ever seen. No passion and all price. It is hard for me to imagine a Key Food General Manager being approached by some of the wine reps that I know, going through their portfolio and asking to taste specific wines that he or she thinks would fit the clientele of that particular location.

This is mostly targeting upstate to fuel the economy in places like Rochester and New Paltz where, “The state, moreover, hopes to bring in about $100 million in the 2009-10 budget.”

There are a lot of wine store and liquor store-owners up in arms about this and I can totally see why. They have a niche in their communities and if people know they can get their wine and groceries all in one place well…

Yes there will always be the people that love wine and will eschew supermarket plonk but one of the many disadvantages to this proposal is the potential inability to cultivate wine lovers. If you are a wine merchant worth your salt then you have a gift for converting wine drinkers into wine lovers as well as helping the lost who wander in looking, hoping, needing to get into wine with no way of knowing how until they meet you.

The New York State wineries are stoked because they have the potential to jump on the shelves with the whole “buy local” and be well represented in this market but last I saw most of the wine coming from the three regions of our great state are pretty expensive and if there is no one in the supermarket everyday hand selling a New York State wine section averaging $20 a bottle people are going to say, “Hey look, New York State wine! Great I am so going to have this for my dinner party to support…wait…oh…twenty dollars…oh…I guess I will just go with this Woodbridge.”

I don’t know about the rest of the state but here in NYC I see a line that is way too long at the Trader Joe’s wine shop when my wife and I do our weekly shopping on Saturdays. The wine there is pretty much about the quality you are going to get if you go to Associated or Met.

Of course this may not be passed and furthermore it is up to the individual owners to decide (if it is passed) if they want to do it or not because the state will charge, “…a franchise fee to any grocer who already sells beer and wants to sell wine.”

This could get interesting.

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