Published August 27, 2013
New York is reportedly cracking down on a major New Jersey alcohol retailer illegally selling wine to Empire State residents.
The New York State Liquor Authority (NYSLA) this month issued a cease-and-desist letter the Wine Library, one of New Jersey's largest alcohol retailers-- ordering it to stop sending wine to New York customers, according to Wine Spectator. Gary Vaynerchuk, the owner of the Wine Library, created an entrepreneurial empire with his national wine outlet and creation of his popular webcast series, Wine Library TV.
Current New York state laws prevent residents from ordering any imported wines online and prohibit the direct shipment of wine from out-of-state wine stores, auction houses or wine clubs.
Even though retailers ran the risk of getting caught breaking the law, New York's alcohol regulators traditionally looked the other way.
Some are pleased that the NYSLA is now cracking down on the Wine Library.
"I applaud the chairman of the SLA for grabbing the biggest retailer in the state of New Jersey and telling them they shouldn't be breaking the law," Michael Correra, executive director of the Metropolitan Package Store Association, an organization that represents New York retail beverage industry, told the magazine.
But some see the move as detrimental to New York consumers and out-of-state retailers, alike.
"For a major wine state to send out a cease-and-desist to a retailer 30 miles from midtown Manhattan obviously is trying to make a point. It's definitely a power play of wholesalers and old-guard retailers of New York state against the quote-unquote up-and-comers." Daniel Posner, owner Grapes the Wine Co. and president of the National Association of Wine Retailers told Wine Specator.
A new report from the Washington, D.C.-based American Wine Consumer Coalition --that advocates for less government controls on state liquor laws -- gave New York State a D+ in its Consuming Concerns: the 2013 State-by-State Report Card on Consumer Access to Wine.
The report, which graded the 50 states and Washington D.C. on alcohol laws and regulations, cited the state's prohibition on grocery store wine sales and direct shipping from wine retailers
Wine Spectator noted that at least one online retailer already changed its policy and no longer ships wine to New York state due to the cease-and-desist letter.