Dr. Vino has already brought this up on his blog: Gov. David Paterson has included in his budget, which will then have to be approved by lawmakers, the revenue-enhancing idea allowing wine to be sold in supermarkets. In fact, this is something included in nearly every governor’s budget every year. Lawyers on behalf of Costco and Whole Foods, etc. then write letters in support of the change and then it never happens.
[Image via wineterroirs]But for some reason this year the proposal is getting more press, possibly due to the $15 billion deficit. Mostly in support of the change. As someone with an interest in a liquor store/ wine shop the thought of grocery stores selling wine (the proposal actually calls for any business with an existing license to sell beer to be able to add wine to its shelves) is pretty scary. The argument that liquor stores would be fine because they still have a monopoly on liquor doesn’t quite cut it: the markup on wine is much greater than the markup on booze.
However, wine is available in grocery stores in New Jersey and the Wine Library is doing OK. And he’s not even selling cheese. It will all boil down to service and the marketing.
The grocery stores will undoubtedly take over the sales of Yellow Tail and other major brands. They could even bottle their own brands — made by a New York winery??? — and grocery store chains would eventually need to hire wine consultants to oversee their buying. That could be a good job. But smaller wine shop would still be the place to go for enthusiasts.
Update: Howard Goldberg’s take on wine in grocery stores.