Wine Wins in New York

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We recently discussed two bills in New York that had the power to grant wholesalers more monopoly power over New York wine. Both remained in committee, which is seen as a tacital victory for wine retailers. Wine Searcher describes it here:  

The bills, NY Senate Bill S05437, introduced by State Senator Terrence Murphy; and Assembly Bill A10737 remained "in committee" when both houses went into recession on June 20th. They were among the many issues left unaddressed by a very unproductive New York legislature this year that left other issues – such as tightening gun regulations, according to the New York Times – unresolved.

"There is a tacit agreement if it doesn't get voted out of committee it dies," says John Hinman, a partner in the San Francisco-based, drinks-specialized law firm of Hinman & Carmichael. "Most of the alcoholic beverage bills don't pass," adds attorney Elke A. Hofmann, the owner of the New York City-based Elke A. Hofmann Law, PLLC. However, she notes the New York State's individual process of committees and readings process is baffling.

If these bills had passed retailers would have been prohibited from buying from private collectors and at auction. This would have made older vintages and sought-after bottles very hard to find for high-end restaurants and big-ticket buyers. This would be a challenge for the wine market anywhere, but New York is also home to all the major international auction houses. These bills are also reminiscent of when the New Hampshire State Liquor Board tried to block out-of-state retailers from shipping to residents from out-of-state stores last month.

Read more about wine's victory here.