New push to sell wine in NYS grocery stores

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — You might not have to make that extra stop at the liquor store, that’s because state lawmakers are pushing a bill allowing wine to be sold at grocery stores.

New York State lawmakers are working to uncork legislation, that would allow grocery stores to sell wine.

“If you’re going to sell beer, you mine as well sell wine,” said John Sharples, resident of Auburn.

Forty states already sell wine on grocery store shelves. But in New York State, it can only be sold at liquor stores or wineries.

“I think it would be more convenient to just have a slightly nicer bottle of wine at the grocery store that you don’t have to make two stops,” said Rhiannon Payne, resident of Syracuse.

But those two stops could cost small businesses, like Piraino’s Country Liquors its livelihood.

“Mom and Pop stores can tell you where to drink and what to drink and the good stuff or the bad stuff you know and give you a few price ranges,” said Anthony Piraino, owner of Piraino’s Country Liquors.

But Piraino says those days are coming to an end, with similar measures being introduced in the past. Piraino is more than certain the proposed bill will pass this time around, before the legislative session ends next month.

“It’s been the same thing all the time 46 years, oh it’s going to pass and then it gets knocked down, you know the small business and all the other stuff,” said Piraino.

Piraino said if the legislation were to pass, he would lose about 20 to 30 percent of sales.

“I gross around $300,000. It will take 20 percent, so it will be down, I’ll probably be down to $240,000. That’s gross, and then you take your profit off the gross,” said Piraino.

Simmering thoughts are making some wine lovers think twice about convenience.

“I would be upset along those lines because I do enjoy like you say the local vendors,” said Sharples.

“I think grocery stores have enough things to sell that they don’t really need high end liquor or wine,” said Payne.

Hoping things will improve with age.

Lawmakers have less than ten legislative session days to get the bill passed.

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