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Vintners continue push for wine in grocery stores

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New York winemakers are toasting the idea of selling their wares in grocery stores. Small liquor store owners are not pleased.

Groups in favor of selling wine in grocery stories (like vintners and growers) continue to push for the change to be added to this year's budget, reports Nick Reisman at Gannett:

"New York wineries and grape growers are a bright spot in the economy and we should be encouraging them, not stifling them," said Scott Osborn, president of the New York Wine Industry Association. "Consumers will benefit, wine and grape growers are going to benefit. There's going to be money flowing to the state." While they are armed with statistics on potential job growth and other positive economic impacts, the idea again faces significant opposition from small business groups that say liquor stores would be hurt.

Reisman notes that those small businesses are up against some big guns:

The subject has been the matter of intense lobbying. Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman is a major supporter of wine in grocery stores. He and members of his family last year donated a combined $90,000 to Cuomo's gubernatorial campaign, state Board of Elections records show.

Matt Glynn at the Buffalo News reports that a study released by New Yorkers for Economic Growth and Open Markets  shows that revenues for the state would be up to $71 million within five years of enacting the proposal:

The study, prepared by Archstone Consulting, says that the state would collect one-time potential revenue of about $347 million through franchise fees and that 6,386 net new jobs would be created in the first year of wine sales in grocery stores, from increased employment in stores, wineries and businesses that support the industry. Proponents also contend that wine sales in New York State would rise by vastly increasing the number of retail outlets where the product could be sold. James T. Rogers, president of the Food Industry Alliance, says polls show that a majority of consumers would welcome the convenience of buying wine in a grocery store. “The idea has been out there and it’s really starting to gain, I think, some traction in the consumer’s mind,” Rogers said.

Wine in the sky
Sheila Livadas writes in the Democrat and Chronicle's Wine & Vine blog that satellite technology from Cornell is helping grape growers map their crops:

Armed with geographic information system technology that relies on satellite views of vineyard blocks, the grape program uses the maps to identify trends and make projections about the region’s grape-growing industry, as well as provide growers with information that helps them plan, manage and protect their crops.

The program that sponsors the research is looking for more growers to step forward and participate.  More info available about that at the Grape Program's website.

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