WineAmerica Opposes New NY "At-Rest" Provision with Letter Sent to NY Assembly

WineAmerica, the National Association of American Wineries, on behalf of our member wineries in New York and across the nation, echo the concerns of the New York Farm Bureau and other related groups with respect to the possible adoption of an “at-rest” provision that would require wines to be stored in a New York warehouse for 48 hours before being distributed.

WineAmerica is comprised of approximately 800 winery members in nearly every state. Through our state association partnerships, we represent the vast majority of the nearly 8,000 American wineries at the state, federal and international levels. The mission of WineAmerica is to encourage sound public policy that will allow for the growth of the American wine industry, and to provide wineries market opportunities both domestically and abroad.

The proposed “at rest” provision would add unnecessary delay and complexity to a distribution system that already poses significant hurdles for small production wine brands. By increasing the expense associated with wine delivery, the proposal would result in lost sales and associated reductions in state excise and sales tax revenue in a sector of the New York economy that has shown dynamic growth over the last three decades. See Stonebridge Research, The Economic Impact of Grapes, Grape Juice & Wine on the New York Economy, 2008 (Jan. 2010).

Wineries are often an engine of rural economic development in New York. Anchoring towns throughout Central and Western New York, the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and other rural communities, the development of the state’s wine industry is a remarkable success story. As local wineries continue to grow and flourish—improving their reputation throughout the country and around the world—it is incumbent upon the New York legislature to improve distribution efficiency for producers of small production brands. An “at-rest” provision would be a significant step backward, building a barrier to market entry for local and out-of-state wineries with no commensurate benefit to the state.

New York can be a leader whose distribution laws further encourage the development of local wineries and promote the interstate sale of locally produced wine. Improvements could make the distribution system more transparent and easier to navigate, and could serve as a model that other states could follow.

New York should not impose new obstacles to efficient interstate wine sales. An “at-rest” provision would be a major impediment to interstate wine deliveries and would seriously damage the ability of local and out-of-state wineries to reach their customers.

We urge you not to adopt this harmful proposal.