NY Legislation Will Wipe Out “Gray Market” For Fine Wine

Proposed legislation in New York State will impose heavy restrictions on the sale of rare, collectable wines.  Bill No. A06884, introduced by the New York State Committee on Economic Development, will require restaurants and retail stores to purchase wine from a “primary source” – an authorized distributor who must be clearly identified, thereby eliminating the “gray market” of private wine sales.  The stated intent of the bill is to protect against the sale of counterfeit wines.  

In a Wall Street Journal blog post, Jay McInerney wrote: “Counterfeit wine is only a problem at the highest end of the fine and rare wine market, and the auction houses and the top domains are developing strategies to deal with the issue. A few wealthy collectors buy questionable ’45 Mouton every year, but this hardly seems a reason to overhaul the entire market.” If the bill becomes law, “no longer will New York restaurants be able to source wines from auctions and private collectors to bring you a wide variety of the world’s finest and rarest wine. Plus, your New York retailer will now be at the mercy of the wholesalers.”

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