Cuomo signs law allowing farm stands to sell NY wine

Under a law signed by Gov. Andrew M. Under a law signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the State Liquor Authority will issue new roadside farm market licenses to sell wine produced within 20 miles of the stand. Tastings are not allowed. Photo Credit: iStock

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A chardonnay with your Swiss chard?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Monday signed a law that allows local farm stands to sell New York-made wines.

Under the measure, the State Liquor Authority will issue new roadside farm market licenses to sell wine produced by up to two state-licensed farms or special wineries located within 20 miles of the stand. Tastings are not allowed.

One local wine producer said he welcomed the measure by a governor whom he called a big advocate for state wines.

"The more avenues for people to get New York wine products into their hands, the better," said Ron Goerler, owner of Jamesport Vineyards in Jamesport and president of the Long Island Wine Council, an industry group. "It's a good thing because it's direct to the consumer."

Goerler estimated there are several dozen farm stands on the North and South Forks and elsewhere on Long Island.

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One of them is a step ahead of the new law. Harbes Family Farm, a sprawling agriculture-entertainment and farm stand operation based in Jamesport, six years ago launched its own wine brand and tasting shed.

Ed Harbes, the general manager, said the new law "presents some interesting opportunities to present some more local products that are of interest to customers."

One challenge could be the law's restriction on tastings. Harbes said the ability to let customers sniff and taste wines is an important selling tool. "The wine-tasting experience is certainly very important for wine sales," he said.

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The state has previously eyed expansion of local wine sales -- and rejected it. Under former Gov. David A. Paterson, the sale of wine in grocery and convenience stores was considered by the State Legislature, but ultimately rejected after protests from liquor stores and distributors. Cuomo rejected the wine-in-grocery store law when it was proposed earlier.

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