Cuomo Signs ABC Law Modernization Bill

On Wednesday, September 7, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation intended to modernize the State’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Law (“ABC Law” or “ABCL”). Senate Bill 8140, often referred to as the “Brunch Bill,” implements the recommendations made by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Working Group (“Working Group”) in April 2016. The most talked-about provision took effect immediately and allows the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption before noon on Sundays—hence the legislation’s moniker—but boozy brunch is just one of many changes, most of which will take effect on November 6, 2016. Read on to learn more about these reforms.

Read More
Comment

Coming Soon: The Champlain Valley of New York Viticultural Area

It’s official: New York State will welcome its tenth American viticultural area (“AVA”) into existence on September 21, 2016! On August 22, 2016, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) published a final rule establishing the Champlain Valley of New York Viticultural Area. This approximately 500-square-mile area in upstate New York is distinguished by its cold climate and short growing season, which are too harsh for most Vitis vinifera varieties but well suited to North American hybrids. The TTB rule takes effect on September 21.

Read More
Comment

Sta. Rita Hills AVA Expansion

On Monday, August 22, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) published a final rule expanding the Sta. Rita Hills viticultural area.[1] This long-awaited decision, which will take effect September 21, 2016, will add approximately 2,296 acres to the 33,380-acre region located in Santa Barbara County, California. The 2,296-acre expansion area contains three vineyards, two of which were already partially within the original boundaries of the Sta. Rita Hills viticultural area. Beginning September 21, wines produced by these vineyards will be authorized to bear the Sta. Rita Hills name on their labels.

Read More
Comment

Private Collection Wine Sales Safe. . . For Now

Last fall, the New York State Liquor Authority (“NYSLA”) caused a stir in the fine wine market when it proposed to limit the sale of private collection wines. In a draft advisory intended “to provide guidance to manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of wine or liquor with respect to proper purchase and sale of private collection wines and liquors,” NYSLA set forth a narrow and perplexing definition of “private collection wine.” This definition would have reduced the amount of wine that could be sold without a license. Now, the Authority has backed away from its plan to rein in these transactions.

Read More
Comment