\”At Rest\” Legislation Rears Its Ugly Head Again in NY

From The New York Daily News:

State Sen. Jeff Klein’s campaign cup is spilling over with $33,000 in cash from a national wine distributor that would almost singularly benefit from a bill the Bronx lawmaker authored.But Klein’s re-election war chest is growing at the expense of small merchants and wine-loving consumers in New York, who could end up paying an extra $7 per bottle, critics charge. Empire Merchants LLC is pushing a measure that would require all wine to be warehoused in New York for at least one day before being sold in local stores. Empire has poured more than $500,000 over the last eight years into the coffers of Gov. Cuomo, state Senate co-leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and other key lawmakers. Critics say the measure would destroy Empire’s small- and mid-size local competitors, which store their vino in cheaper New Jersey warehouses.

Some commentary over at Dr. Vino:

Clearly, this is absurd, and it serves no-one’s purpose other than a large distributor such as Empire. As with Amazon, most of the small and mid-sized wine distributors have chosen to warehouse in New Jersey. To force that warehousing to NY would create jobs–always appealing to politicians–but it would doubtless raise the cost of business to the small and mid-sized distributors, likely raising prices for consumers or forcing distributors to trim their portfolios. The worst case scenario is that they would go out of business. Ironically, the 2005 Granholm decision on direct wine shipping could be invoked since this law discriminates against out-of-state products, violating interstate commerce.

Organic Wine Journal\’s Editor Adam Morganstern wrote about this last year on Huffington Post:

The most important wine region to New Yorkers isn\’t Bordeaux, Tuscany or the Mosel. It\’s New Jersey, where almost all the fine wine they drink is warehoused before being delivered to local stores and restaurants. An amendment before the New York Senate would end this practice, and require wines to be stored in-state for 48 hours. Small wholesalers are up in arms, claiming this is an attempt to drive them out of business by the state\’s two biggest liquor distributors, Southern Wine & Spirits and Empire Merchants, who already have their storage facilities within state lines.

\”It\’s two very large companies trying to monopolize the fine wine market by squeezing us out,\” says Tina Fischer of Polaner Selections. \”It\’s bad for our retail and restaurant customers, and bad for consumers. Prices will go up, selections will go down. The only people this is good for are Southern and Empire.\”

Here is a video submitted by Jon Torodash, who is running for NYC City Council, where he questions NY State Senator Jose Peralta over his support for the legislation.


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