Yesterday we noticed a sign at Whole Foods imploring us to go to VoteforWine.com and show our support for getting wine into grocery stores in the city. Governor Patterson proposed the idea as part of the new state budget (it's already the norm in 35 other states), but, not surprisingly, he's created quite a brouhaha.
Having lived in a state where you can buy wine at the grocery—and now living in a city where we haul our loot on our shoulders as we walk from store to store—we think it would be a huge convenience to be able to get everything in one place. But some liquor stores and wineries are furious. What do you think? Details below...
We've read several articles and also visited the partisan sites for each side: Vote for Wine (the public relations campaign to rally support for the plan) and Last Store on Main Street (the coalition of wineries, stores, and distributors that oppose it).
Governor Patterson says the plan would bring in a ton of much needed cash for the state, since stores would pay for a license to sell wine. Other pros? Convenience, for one, which we wholeheartedly agree with. Supporters also say that the plan would create new jobs (we assume to sell wine in expanded sections of stores) and new outlets for promoting the growing New York wine industry.
Opponents claim that's not really true; grocery stores will sell big, cheap brands rather than support small, independent wineries. But we have read that some stores (Whole Foods being one) have pledged to carry local wines as part of the deal. There is the issue of competition, too, and many claim that the plan will put a lot of liquor stores out of business.
Another point that the opposition brings up is the risk of teenagers having easier access to wine if it's sold in grocery stores. We agree with a point in the Times article, linked below, that teenagers probably go for beer or liquor before wine. It's been a while since we were teenagers, but we weren't that sophisticated.
If the plan goes through (the budget is supposed to be approved by April 1st), we think we'll still stop by the wine store. Sometimes we need expert help and a bigger selection. But being able to grab a bottle with our groceries would be a huge help. We can't always stomach the crowds at Trader Joe's in Union Square, but when we do, it is SO nice to have the wine store right next door.
By the way, a similar proposal is being debated in Tennessee right now. It will be an interesting comparison if it passes in one state and not another.
Read all about it:
• Vote for Wine (in favor of the plan)
• Last Store on Main Street (opposed)
• "Chardonnay in Aisle 3?" from The New York Times
• "Spirited Debate Over State Wine Laws," from USA Today
We know a big portion of you live in states where you can buy wine in the grocery store. What is your experience? Is the grocery store your main source, or do you still shop in wine stores?
New Yorkers, what do you think?
Related: Mary's Top Wine Picks from Trader Joe's Wine Store
(Image: Vote for Wine)