CONNECTICUT, USA — Connecticut may be poised to pop the cork on a new concept. Selling wine in grocery stores. But some are crying sour grapes. It was a debate that took center stage at the state Capitol.
Hundreds of people signed up to testify at Thursday’s public hearing in front of the General Law Committee. So many in fact, that not everybody had time to be heard. Those people will be able to submit written testimony.
The concept of being able to sell bottles of vino has Connecticut grocery stores on cloud wine. But it isn’t new, just vintage 2023.
“Consumers have told us that this issue is about convenience and choice,” said Wayne Pesce, the President of the Connecticut Food Association.
But Connecticut package stores are crying sour grapes.
“I really feel like wine sales in supermarkets will lead to a tremendous amount of job losses,” explained Girish Patel of the Indian American Package Store Association.
Hillary Criollo represents Connecticut’s farm wineries; she said wine sales in liquor stores have plummeted in recent years.
“We need an additional outlet to sell our wines. We’re seeing the beer being sold in local grocery stores. Why can’t there be wine as well?”
But despite a provision in the bill that wouldn’t allow any food store within 1,000 feet of an existing package store to sell wine, liquor store owners tell FOX61 not only would the bill result in revenue and job loss for them, but fewer choices for consumers.
“If supermarkets get wine we are going to see those selections plummet and Connecticut consumers who have come to appreciate this amazing beverage will ultimately be finding themselves with less options and venues to acquire it,” said Patel.
But grocery stores said just the opposite and cite a recent UConn survey that shows 84% of consumers are in favor of wine at supermarkets. Connecticut is one of only eight states where it’s not allowed.
“Consumers have told us that this issue is about convenience and choice. And that means different things to different people,” said Pesce. “The idea that every single bottle of wine bought at a grocery store comes at the expense of a package store is just not true.”
Even among its supporters, there are big sticking points with this bill. It allows supermarkets to sell wine from any winery that produces up to 100,000 gallons of wine a year. Local Wineries said their volume is half of that. They want the threshold lowered to avoid too much competition.
Original article found at FOX 61.