NY approves farm wineries changes

ALBANY, NY -- Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed into law a bill he said will reduce regulatory burdens the State Liquor Authority places on farm wineries.

“This bill is a huge boost for wineries across the state. Reducing the regulatory burdens on farm wineries will allow them to continue to thrive as a key tourism, agricultural, and economic engine for our state,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The law implements several recommendations the New York State Wine Grape Task Force made in its 2008 report to the commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. Among its main points:

• Allow farm wineries to operate up to five branch stores without having to obtain separate licenses or being subject to the same off-premise restrictions that liquor stores have under existing state law. The branch stores will be considered extensions of the winery and not separate entities.

• Make clear that farm wineries can provide or use custom-crush services for buyers of New York grapes, making it easier for small vineyards to enter the industry.
Permit the wineries to maintain their direct-shipping reports on site and only provide them to the Liquor Authority when asked to, rather than having to produce time-consuming reports for the state.

• No longer require wineries that manufacture less than 1,500 gallons of wine a year to apply for separate micr0-winery licenses. All farm wineries will have the same license, and micro-winery licenses will continue to cost $50 a year.

 • Lift a restriction that limits wineries’ participation in charitable events to five a year. Wineries will obtain annual permits and notify the Liquor Authority of events.

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