New York Bills Could Grant Monopoly Power

As seen on DrinksReform before, New York already has laws restricting wine purchases. Grubstreet explains that two bills being discussed could further this restriction, especially concerning shops looking for older wines:

"The new rules would give any one, and only one, wholesaler control of any label, so individual winemakers, or 'any single brand,' becomes an exclusive part of the wholesaler’s portfolio. It’s effectively a monopoly, so anyone who isn’t concerned about the prospect of fewer lip-smacking Jura reds might be worried about steep price hikes that could result from a newly homogenized market.

A second implication that has wine drinkers reeling concerns the often-extraordinary impact that wine shops will have to compete and stand out by selling interesting, older bottles. Current rules allow certain merchants to buy wine directly from sources beyond wholesalers, including the cellars of private collectors. Several of the best wine shops do this; it’s what keeps the city’s wine scene diverse and interesting. And as writers like Jason Wilson have argued, the ability of merchants to specialize and sell wines made from more obscure grapes (or from far-flung regions) conveys the added benefit of biodiversity and environmental stewardship, a good remedy against the tide of industrial bottles.

The proposed legislation limits the meaning of “private collection.” Collectors would have to be “non-licensed” individuals, only selling wine that originated at a retail store or at auction, and transactions would require the original proof of purchase. Finally, if the wine is white or rosé, all bottles would have to be at least five years old; if the wine is red, port, or sparkling, that number goes up to ten..."

Check out the entire article here.