What if you could not buy a book at a bookstore in New York if it had come from a New Jersey warehouse? Or fill your car up with gas in New York if the truck that brought it to the gas station came from New Jersey? We can agree that would be silly. About as silly as trying to prevent wine wholesalers who sell wine to NY wine stores and restaurants from going about their business if they have a warehouse in New Jersey.
But that is exactly what is happening. A large wholesaler is trying to prevent smaller wholesalers from using their existing warehouses in New Jersey by inserting an “at rest” provision in the state senate’s 2012 budget. This would require all wines to come from warehouses in New York. While I do care about the provenance of my wine, I do not care one whit if it comes from a (climate-controlled) warehouse in NY or NJ. Some specialty shops and small wholesalers are uniting to try to stop this before Friday, March 9. An email that has been making the rounds today follows after the jump:
A critical issue to the very existence of the fine wine industry in New York has been brought to our attention and we wanted to make you aware of it. One of the largest liquor wholesalers is lobbying the State Senate to include an “at rest” provision in their 2012 budget. The practical effect of “at rest” means that only those distributors delivering product out of New York warehouses could legally sell you wine. Legislation such as this would affect essentially every wholesaler currently in operation other than the two biggest ones, since they almost all warehouse in New Jersey, including our company.
Imagine a landscape with only the two largest wholesalers remaining to work with. Selections would become painfully limited. Prices would most certainly rise. Service would plummet. Their pro-“at rest” argument (union warehouse jobs and revenue) is simply a veiled attempt by this wholesaler to destroy all of the fine wine wholesale competition, because most of your valued New York wholesalers would undoubtedly be forced to close their doors. We have contacted our State Senators to tell them that we oppose “at rest” in either legislation or budget language. We urge you to do the same before FRIDAY, MARCH 9th. Please contact your Senator to tell them you oppose “at rest.” The procedure is quick and simple. Please just click on the link: http://www.nysenate.gov/senators. Type in your address and zip code under “FIND MY SENATOR” and hit submit. Fill out the online form with your information (ignoring the drop down box), type “At Rest” in the Subject Line and either craft your own statement or feel free to copy and paste the paragraph below. We thank you for your time, your attention, and most of all your support.
It has come to our attention that one large wine & spirit wholesaler is lobbying you to include “at rest” in the 2012 budget. They are claiming “at rest” will create revenue for the State. But, as a licensed, small business that buys from many wine distributors, I do not agree that it would create revenue. Instead, I believe that “At rest” would result in hundreds of closed businesses, including both wholesalers and retailers, and at least a thousand unemployed New Yorkers. As such the State would lose hundreds of millions in taxable revenues from passing this bill. The volume of wine sold in the State (and the accompanying beverage excise tax revenue) would severely decrease. Consumer selection would be limited and the price of wine would escalate with the costs inevitably passed on to the consumer. Moreover, the ancillary effects of the resultant higher unemployment, lower sales and income tax revenues collected, would further exacerbate the current economic position of the state, not improve it. With the above in mind, we urge you NOT to vote for “at rest” either in legislation or in the budget language.