Bite of the Grape: More Fulminating over Whether to Sell Wine in Grocery Stores


Yes folks, you were waiting for it, and now it’s happened: yet another round in the battle of the press releases over Governor Paterson’s proposal to allow supermarkets to sell wine.

In one corner, weighing in at 478 words, we have the results of two polls which show “huge public support” for wine in grocery stores. So claims the group lobbying in favor of the measure.

In the other corner, tipping the scales at a svelte 281 words, we have a statement from the “chairman” of a group called Law Enforcement Against Drunk Driving, calling one of the polls “deeply flawed.”

What’s at issue is this: Supermarkets want to sell wine. Liquor stores don’t want them to. Some wineries like the idea. Others don’t. That’s pretty much it.

Here’s what the polls said. A Siena College survey concluded that New Yorkers support the proposal by a 58-39 margin. A separate poll by Kiley and Company found a 6-4 margin in support of the measure.

“New Yorkers from every part of the state and every ideological group, including independents, support the new proposal to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores,” writes pro-wine-in-grocery-stores flack Michael Rabinowitz.

Why do we say it’s all about spin? Well, when we wrote our feature on the subject last August, supporters were claiming the measure would bring in $160 million to the state’s coffers. Now, they are asserting it will bring in $300 million.

Meanwhile, Dan Sisto, of LEADD, called the plan “dangerous” (twice) and “bad” (once). He noted that an April 2009 Siena College survey found that New Yorkers opposed the measure 48 percent to 46 percent. Why the discrepancy? Well, Sisto asserts, “Last year, its pollsters asked a far more fair question and got a far more accurate result.”

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