Direct shipment of wine, finally, a reality
After a multi-year lobbying effort put forth by the agriculture community and through the support of
our wineries, the interstate shipment of wine has finally become a reality in New York State. Under
this legislation, licensed wineries and farm wineries will be permitted to ship wine to individual
consumers in other states that have reciprocal shipping agreements and statutes. Likewise,
consumers in New York State will also be allowed to receive shipments of wine from wineries
located in other states.
This legislation is immensely important to the future of New York’s 200-plus farm and commercial
wineries, as it will continue to strengthen the economic development of this industry in New York,
help the state stay competitive in the national market, and enable the New York wine industry to
expand their sales to the over 2.7 million visitors to New York’s wine country who wish to purchase
our wines. In New York, we already know that our wineries produce the best, now we can show all
the rest. This bill, having passed both the Senate and Assembly, has been signed by the Governor.
Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee and New York Wine and Grape
Foundation President Jim Trezise discussing the wine industry.
Thousand Island – Seaway Wine Trail established
Although not generally recognized as a traditional grape growing area, the North Country is becoming a
great wine producing region of New York State.
In recognition of that, the Assembly has passed Assemblyman Darrel Aubertine’s legislation to create the
Thousand Islands – Seaway Wine Trail in Jefferson County, thereby allowing the wineries along this trail to
participate in New York’s wine trail and grape cluster signage program currently used in the Finger Lakes,
Long Island, Hudson Valley and Lake Ontario/Lake Erie regions.
This designation as a wine trail will also assist in further expanding the tourism opportunities for wine and
grape growing ventures and associated businesses including restaurants, hotels and shopping venues.
This bill, having also passed the Senate, is awaiting action by the Governor.
Farm wineries may purchase out-of-state grapes in some instances
Over the past several years, early frosts, late winters, unusual hail storms and remarkable freezes have
caused grape production to decrease dramatically from year-to-year, placing an enormous strain on our farm
wineries as they seek to purchase grapes for the production of wine. This problem is further exacerbated by
the fact that over sixty percent of the grapes grown in this state are for wine production, so when grape production
drops so dramatically it creates a frenzy among wineries and farm wineries that need to purchase New York
As it currently stands, a duly licensed farm winery must use all New York grown grapes in the production of their
wine or they must forfeit their farm winery license and seek to be licensed as a commercial winery, which brings
with it much greater costs and burdens. In an effort to assist these small farm wineries this legislation allows,
under very specific and limited circumstances, the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets
and the Chairman of the State Liquor Authority to take action if grape production drops by at least forty percent
due to adverse weather conditions. In doing so, our smaller farm wineries would be allowed, for one year, to
purchase grapes from out-of-state sources without jeopardizing their farm winery license. This bill, having also
passed the Senate, has been signed by the Governor.
Wine tastings earlier on Sundays under proposed bill
Due to a fluke in the law, New York’s wineries and farm wineries are allowed to sell wine beginning at 10 a.m.
on Sundays but cannot allow consumers to sample that wine until noon. In an effort to rectify this, legislation has
passed the Assembly which would allow these wineries to both provide wine tastings and sell wine beginning
at 10 a.m. on Sundays. This bill is awaiting action by the Senate.
Niagara Wine Trail expanded
Under legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte and passed by the Assembly, the highly
successful Niagara Wine Trail will be extended to include two additional branches as well as designate East
and West portions of the Trail. There is no doubt that expansion of this trail will allow for further growth in the wine
and tourism industries in Niagara County. This bill, having also passed the Senate, is awaiting action by the