Here at Dr. Vino world headquarters last night, we pulled a cork in celebration of the new wine law in New York. For the first time since Prohibition was imposed in 1919, wine consumers will be able to buy wines directly from out of state wineries. The Supreme Court ruled last month the New York system discriminated against out of state wineries in May. Yesterday, a mere 38 days after the Court’s ruling, the NY legislature passed the bill removing the barriers to interstate commerce. (story)
Legislators took on the state’s distributors and shops who stand to lose fractionally as some, mostly expensive, wines bypass these traditional channels. But the legislators had the support of the state’s 200+ wineries, third most in the country behind California and Washington. The wineries appear sold on the idea that people outside of New York will actually order their wines in sufficient quantity to make up for the loss of in-state sales as NY consumers shift their boutique wine budgets to the small wineries of Washington, Oregon and California. That may just be putting a brave face on the situation since the only other option for the legislature would have been to shut down all sales, which would severely impact the state’s wineries for the worse.
The new law, currently headed for Governor Pataki’s desk for an assured signature, will place a high limit of 36 cases per winery per year for consumers. (That’s right, 3 cases a month per winery.)
So which wine did we choose to celebrate here in New York? Why a Dehlinger Estate Pinot Noir 1999 from the Russian River Valley, a winery that we could “import” from in the future.