According to Crain's, the proposal that would have allowed grocery stores, gas stations and anywhere else that sells beer to begin selling wine is dead in the water.
I don't think that this is a shocking development when you consider the power of lobby groups in Albany. Most everyone in the New York wine world has seen how active the Last Store on Main Street group has been. I've been getting near-daily press releases from them for weeks. But as fellow blogger (and frequent LENNDEVOURS commenter) Thomas Pellechia wrote on his blog earlier today, it may have been the New York beer lobby that ultimately wielded the most power in this situation. We may never know for sure.
In the end, regardless of why, the status quo prevailed. The winners are obvious: the wine shops of New York will continue without the stiff competition grocery stores would have posed. The fact is, the good wine shops were going to be fine and contiue to be good. The wine shops that peddle plonk will continue to sell those junk wines. They can continue to be lazy — but at least they'll also be able to keep their businesses alive to support their families. If Thomas is right, the beer distributors are winners too.
And the losers? Yes, consumers lost out on this one, but I'm not worried about them too much. Wine lovers will find wine. And people interested in interesting wines, will find them. They do today.
But what happens to the wineries/winery owners and winemakers who bet big on the grocery store proposal? Fox Run Vineyards' owner Scott Osborn and Red New Winery's Dave Whiting were among the most vocal supporters of the proposal and, whether the boycott of their wines on the part of wine shops was formal or official, it has happened.
It remains to be seen if those wine shop bridges are burned permanently (I doubt it in the long term) but wineries like Fox Run and Red Newt, that were really just looking for another place to sell their wines, are now faced with the prospect of moving forward with even fewer outlets.These weren't the only wineries in favor of the proposal. Some were just much less vocal publicly.
I'm guessing that some wineries are going to have to change their businesses a bit to deal with the loss of wine shops. They'll have to build out their wine clubs, make hard pushes into restaurants and do whatever they can to move more wine in their tasting rooms.
Of course, it's important to remember that this is just one battle. This issue isn't going away. Not by a long shot.