New York is among a handful of states that do not allow wine sold in grocery stores.
But now a long-dormant proposal is back in the conversation at the state Capitol as officials are also taking a broader look at New York's alcohol laws.
For supermarkets, it's a chance to expand their product offerings and give consumers more choice. For liquor store owners, however, it's a proposal that comes with the concern it could snuff out locally owned small businesses.
New York itself has a vibrant wine producing industry, from the Finger Lakes to the Hudson Valley.
"New York state is the only wine producing state that does not sell wine in the local supermarkets," said Nelson Eusebio, of the National Supermarket Association. "Washington state does it, California does it, and all the other states that produce wines."
A proposal to allow wine sold in grocery stores has stalled for years in the Legislature. But this month, lawmakers introduced a new proposal to do so — one Eusebio says would be consumer friendly and create jobs.
"We will hire more people. More people will be needed to stock the shelves, to buy the product, to stock the product, to deliver the product," Eusebio said.
But Michael Correra, a Brooklyn liquor store owner and the executive director of a statewide industry group, says the move would lead to the closure of small business. Having wine sold in a supermarket down the street, or sometimes in the same shopping plaza, could be a "neutron bomb" for the industry, he said.
"We have jobs, people paying their mortgage, sending their kids to college," he said. "Local New Yorkers, that’s who owns our businesses."
Selling wine in grocery stores would aid the large companies that own chains of stores, Correra said.
"You establish a business with the expectations, you pay expenses, and then all of a sudden overnight with this proposal, you’re business model would be changed to a deficit," he said.
But don’t expect to buy a bottle of Merlot at the grocery store anytime soon. State Sen. Liz Krueger, who introduced the measure, says the proposal needs some time to be discussed.
A commission reviewing New York’s alcohol laws made a series of recommendations; wine in grocery stores wasn’t among them.
"I didn’t think this would be a fast-moving, getting it done in the next three weeks story line," Krueger said. "I was just hoping to introduce the bill, have people think about it and what it says and put in the context of the other changes that are being proposed."
And Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday was non-committal, pointing instead to legislation that would expand the hours alcohol can be sold.
"We’re also looking at a number of other reforms such as the ability to sell alcohol in the morning hours in restaurants and stores," Hochul said. "That would be low-hanging fruit that would be easy to accomplish and it would just make sense."