NY shuffles alcohol laws

William M. Dowd photo

If you're a New Yorker, or plan to visit the Empire State, you'll find a slightly more relaxed legal attitude toward sales of alcoholic beverages. For one thing, wine tastings will be allowed to begin at 10 a.m. on Sundays, rather than having to hold off until noon.

That's sure to be popular with the state's wine industry, which ranks third in the nation behind only California and Oregon in wine production and is a major tourist draw. Previously, wineries could sell bottles of wine beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays, but couldn't allow tastings.

It is one of a handful of changes signed into law this week by Gov. David Patterson. The others:

• The New York State Wine and Culinary Center (seen above) in Canandaigua in the Finger Lakes is allowed to sell beers and distilled spirits produced in the state rather than being limited to wine.

• Wine now may be widely sold at the annual New York State Fair in Syracuse. It had been restricted to certain areas of the fair even though beer could be sold anywhere.

• Ice cream flavored with wine may be sold up to 5% alcohol.

• Owners of microbreweries that manufacture and sell beer at wholesale now also may own restaurants that sell alcohol.
• New York Wine & Culinary Center
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