Here’s piece by Joseph Spector in our Albany office:
Love your wine on your day of rest? Now youâ€™ll get to do it earlier on Sundays.
A bill signed into law this week by Gov. David Paterson will let wineries start their tastings at 10 a.m. on Sundays, instead of waiting until noon.
A quirk in state law was letting wineries sell bottles at 10 a.m. on Sundays, but they couldnâ€™t let buyers taste or drink the wine on their premises until noon.
â€œPeople would balk when they came up to your booth and you have to say to them, â€˜I canâ€™t serve any wine to you until noon but I can sell it to you,â€™â€ said Peter Saltonstall, owner of King Ferry winery on Cayuga Lake and head of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation board.
Wineries said the new law will allow them to start wine tours earlier on Sunday and help them offer tastings when they set up booths at Sunday markets.
The measure was one of six expansions of state liquor laws approved by Paterson. He also signed legislation that allows wine to be sold anywhere at the New York State Fair.
Before wine sales were restricted to certain areas of the fair, while beer could be sold and carried anywhere in the venue.
Another law allows the New York State Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua, Ontario County, to sell New York State-produced beers and distilled spirits. Until now, the center could only sell wine, but wanted to be able to promote other liquor produced in New York, said Assemblyman William Magee, who chairs the Assembly Agriculture Committee,
Another law will allow for the sale of wine-flavored ice cream with up to 5 percent alcohol. The bill was crafted so an Oneida County company, Mercer’s Ice Cream, can legally sell its three latest flavors â€” Ala port wine, peachy white zinfandel and red raspberry chardonnay.
A bill also permits the owner of a microbrewery that manufactures and sells beer at wholesale to also own a restaurant that sells alcohol.
Magee said the goal is not to promote alcohol use, but to help New York businesses.
â€œWeâ€™re just trying to encourage people to consumer more New York products,â€ he said.