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New York grocery stores to sell wine?

New York's governor, David Paterson, proposed on Tuesday that the state's 19,000 grocery and convenience stores be allowed to sell wine.

New York’s 2,500 wine and liquor stores, always against such proposals, are likely to fight back.

Agricultural commissioner Patricia Hooker said Paterson’s proposal would ‘create a spike in the sale of wine,’ particularly New York State wine.

New York City is America’s single biggest wine market.

Thirty-five states, notably California and Washington, let grocery stores sell wine.

Faced with a US$15 billion budget deficit and a need for new revenues, Paterson also asked the legislature to more than double the tax on wine.

Wegmans, a major supermarket chain, welcomed the idea of selling wine in New York State, as it already does in New Jersey and Virginia. ‘This is something we have hoped for, for a decade,’ it said.

Mike Martin, owner of Martin Brothers, a thriving shop near three supermarkets on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, said, ‘I’m not worried. They won’t carry what I carry. They won’t compete on ’82 Latour.’

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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