Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gov. Patterson signs 6 new laws easing restrictions on the sale of wine in New York State

According to an article today, July 10, 2008, in the Ithaca Journal, New York State Governor David Patterson signed into law 6 new laws that affect the sale of alcohol in New York State. All six laws have to do with the sale of wine. The first law moves back the time of sale of wine on Sundays from noon to 10:00 AM so wineries can allow participants on their tours to taste wines on Sunday mornings. Here is a snippet from the article:

ALBANY — Wine drinkers can be confused on Sunday mornings, and not just from the empty bottles from the night before.

They show up to a New York winery before noon and want to taste a sample before selecting a wine to buy and bring home. But they can't: Only buy, no taste.

“They sort of don't understand why they can buy it but can't drink it,” said Scott Osborn, president of Fox Run Vineyards on Seneca Lake in Penn Yan.

That quirk in state law is being corked, however. A bill signed into law this week by Gov. David Paterson will let wineries start their tastings at 10 a.m. on Sundays, instead of waiting until noon.

“People would balk when they came up to your booth (at an event) and you have to say to them, ‘I can't serve any wine to you until noon, but I can sell it to you,”' said Peter Saltonstall, owner of King Ferry winery on Cayuga Lake and head of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation board.

Wineries said the new law will allow them to start wine tours earlier on Sundays and offer tastings when they set up booths at farmers' markets.

The measure was one of six expansions of state liquor laws approved by Paterson this week.

To read about the other five laws click on the link above.

While we at GCASA are not prohibitionists, we are aware that one of the three components of Michael Klitzner's model for environmental strategies is access. Whenever the access to a potentially toxic substance increases, the negative consequences will increase as well and conversely when access is decreased usually the negative consequences decrease as well. This observation is based on a public health model.

With the new laws, access will increase slightly, but it is unlikely that it will have too much, if any, of a negative consequence. On the contrary, it is hoped that it will increase the sale of New York State wines which is good for our economy especially in the Finger Lakes region and in Western New York where most of our grapes are grown and wine produced.

What thoughts do you have have? Leave us your comments.

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