Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed sweeping legislation that would significantly cut wine regulations. The legislation has been debated for the past two years. In 2008, the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets commissioned a study of state wineries. The ultimate goal of the commission was to explore ways to boost the state’s lucrative wine industry.
The Fine Winery Bill, which was recently signed into law, mirrors many of the recommendations of the wine commission. The heart of the bill is the removal of regulations that prevents small wineries from expanding.
For example, the bill allows farm wineries to open branch stores without having to obtain separate liquor licenses. The bill would also reduce the amount of paperwork required to ship wine out of state. Also, the bill would allow wineries to participate in more charitable events and tastings (the current law restricts these to five per year).
The Fine Winery Bill has received praise from members of both parties in the New York Assembly and Senate. Wine production is a major part of the New York economy. The state’s wine and grape industry represents about $3.7 billion of the New York economy, with wine production increasing 50 percent in the last twenty years.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer