Despite the fact that you can buy wine and groceries on Fresh Direct and in 35 other states, you still can't do so in New York—public support be damned. Still, lawmakers are once again trying to make liquor store owners here miserable by introducing legislation that would finally let you buy vino at the Met (while throwing a few bones to the liquor stores). The issue could possibly come to a vote in the next month.
Previous attempts to bring wine to market have been stymied by liquor store owners who worry that their business model will be deeply hurt by such a move. To that end legislators are trying to make things right by them, though it may not be enough. The new legislation would let liquor store owners, among other things, to "own more than one store, sell products directly to restaurants and bars, sell a greater variety of products and join cooperatives."
Supermarkets have been arguing for years (and former Governor Paterson certainly agreed) that wine in markets would be a real boon for the state. A recent analysis by Archstone Consulting said that changes in the law could "generate $346.7 million in new revenue in the first year through franchise and license fees, excise taxes and sales taxes." After that it could earn up roughly $71 million in annual revenue.
Even so, it is unclear if the latest try in Albany—despite bi-partisan support thanks to Democratic Assemblyman Joseph Morelle and Republican state Sen. Thomas O'Mara acting as sponsors—can make it in a vote. Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos has previously worried aloud that changing the current system, where liquor stores have a virtual monopoly on wine sales, could seriously hurt that industry.