Gov Cuomo deals wine shipping a setback

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Late on Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have made wine shipping easier for New York wine retailers. The bill protects wine retailers from being penalized by the NY State Liquor Authority for potentially violating the laws of other states. That’s right: other states.

In vetoing the bill, Cuomo said that he did not want to make New York a “haven for entities intent on breaking other states’ laws, avoiding other states’ legitimately imposed taxes and regulations and selling to minors with impunity.” (see full text of the statement)

Why would the Governor veto a bill that both houses passed by 90% last summer? Your guess is as good as mine. But that language about selling to minors is usually the hallmark of wholesalers’ argument against liberalizing wine shipping–technology exists to collect taxes and provide age verification. Now it remains to be seen if the legislature will override the veto with a two-thirds majority.

The Governor also called on the SLA to hold “a series of roundtables” on how to modernize the industry starting next March. We shall see if these roundtables include any consumer representatives but since a recent SLA ad hoc committee did not, I will not hold my breath.

The bill stems from a long-running case of Empire Wine, a retailer in the Albany area that is active in internet sales. The SLA had sanctioned Empire for violating other states’ laws and the legislature saw that as overreach, thus passing the bill.

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One Response to “Gov Cuomo deals wine shipping a setback”


  1. Cuomo is correct. (The underage thing is a red herring) But shipping to states that do not allow the purchase of wine from out of state retailers should not be promoted. Do you think that NYC residents would be happy if another state decided to promote the sale of firearms to NYC residents, just to get around their laws?
    The law doesn’t affect NY residents other than store owners. So that is what it is all about, protection of NY retailers, not residents or heaven forbid, the rest of the country.
    And I think we can all agree that liquor laws across the country are mostly the vestige of prohibition and religion. I live in Maryland and we have much stupider laws in regard to alcohol than you do.


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