Stand Up to The Importers Behind “At Rest” Legislation in New York
For those of you who do not know, I work for a wine importer that distributes wine to New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I don’t often mention my work nor write about the wines we distribute as I like to keep the affairs of The Wine Culture Project separate. However, it’s impossible for me to ignore a political issue that could greatly affect the company for which I work. David Bowler Wine, like many other importers in the NY metropolitan area, is a fairly small outfit that works on bringing wines from curious places to your local store and favorite restaurant. We sell not only wine, but also the story, the winemaker and a sense of place – all of which makes wine interesting by setting it apart from so many other agricultural products in the marketplace.
Though the romance of wine makes the business more interesting than most, it’s still a business. Currently, there is proposed legislation in New York that would not only severely hamper our ability to do business, but could lead to higher prices for our products and potentially put our company out of business. The proposed legislation includes a provision termed “at rest.” In a nutshell, the provision would require any distributor selling wine in the state of New York ship their wine from a warehouse in New York State. Most distributors in that operate in New York house their wine in New Jersey as multiple small distributors share warehouse space together as their portfolios aren’t big enough to warrant their own warehouse in either New York or New Jersey.
The “at rest” provision is nothing less than a direct attempt by the largest wine distributors to put smaller importers and distributors out of business. This continued work to monopolize the wine market by the largest, most capitalized and politically influential distributors has the potential to have catastrophic effects not only for companies like the one I work for, but will also lead to higher prices for consumers, decreased tax revenue for the state of New York and would greatly reduce the number of selections that consumers can choose from in retail stores and restaurant wine lists. The distributors behind the legislation claim that the bill will protect union warehouse jobs and lead to increased revenue. I am the son of a retired union chairman and I know a pile of bullshit when I see one. No union jobs are at risk of being lost by wine distributors warehousing and shipping their wine from New Jersey – this pseudo-justification for the “at rest” provision is nothing more than a veiled attempt by the largest fish in the pond to swallow up the smaller distributors and monopolize the market.
I am not a resident of New York, I live in the sunny Garden State across the river. I can’t do much about this issue but help bring awareness to something that is so overtly antithetical to what I love about the wine business – bringing interesting products to customers who desire something a little less ordinary. Please click on this link below and sign the petition telling the State of New York that the “at rest” is bad not only for business, but could lead to the loss of jobs for scores of my friends and colleagues.*
*At no point did David Bowler, anyone affiliated with David Bowler Wine or any other importer/distributor ask me to post the above article. I work for a great company that brings real wine, made by real people to your table. Please help me fight the bastards who threaten our ability to do so.
“At rest” is back for 2013 Ugh… check out NY State Senate bill S3849 and companion bill A5125
Southern and Empire trying to lock up NYC
Indeed. With any luck their attempts will be thwarted for another year. There are simply too many good wines coming in from smaller distributors which are warehoused in New Jersey for a piece of legislation like this to pass. Let’s hope big money and political influence don’t win out in the long run.
I am a wine enthusiast and very much want to work for a NY-based importer. In addition, I applaud the efforts of the “little guys” who are just trying to carve a niche for themselves in the market, not to mention your effort to bring this issue to light and stop it through a petition campaign. I will definitely sign your petition, and I sincerely hope that you can stop the big, moneyed corporate interests from having their way in the marketplace with this extremely unfair piece of legislation.