The wine industry is regulated by the federal government and the individual states. State wine law can vary drastically from state to state. Each state has its own unique set of laws governing winemaking. In New York, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (“ABC”) governs licenses and regulations within New York State (“NYS”). The New York State Liquor Authority is the agency that enforces these laws. New York’s licensing bureaus (there are three: one in New York City, one in Albany, and one in Buffalo) is responsible for receiving, reviewing, and investigating license and permit applications.
It is important to under NY’s ABC law if one wishes to pursue a career in the wine industry, as well as which type of license one is seeking. The ABC Law defines various licenses and permits within two general categories – wholesale and retail. Wholesalers include those licensees manufacturing, storing and distributing alcoholic beverages for sale to licensed retailers. Retailers are those licensees who can purchase, stock and sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on or off-premises. The length of the license period varies depending on the class or type of license issued. One unique aspect of New York wine law is that licensed wine retailers cannot also be a manufacturer or wholesaler of alcohol and vice versa. This is referred to as the “Tied House Law”, which prevents monopolies from forming.
Rincker Law is available to serve different segments of the vineyard and wine industry. Stay tuned for more posts about wine and vineyard law!