Research shows economic benefits of selling wine in Connecticut supermarkets

Proposal for wine in CT grocery stores
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 9:26 AM EST
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A coalition of lawmakers pushed to allow the sale of wine in grocery stores on Thursday.

The Connecticut Food Association held a news conference with University of Connecticut Prof. Fred Carstensen and pollster Ken Dautrich to release the findings of research showed the economic benefits of and widespread consumer support for the sale of wine in Connecticut supermarkets.

The UConn poll shows 84-percent of people in Connecticut want wine in grocery stores.

The news conference started at 9:15 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Hundreds of package store owners are urging lawmakers not to take away their business.

A hearing was held Thursday at the Legislative Office Building.

“This is an issue that is supported more than the sale of cannabis, online betting and early voting,” said Wayne Pesce, President of the Connecticut Food Association.

The Connecticut Food Association, which represents grocery stores, said it’s all about convenience and giving people what they want.

“The opportunity to sell wine, a natural pairing with food, in my grocery store and therefore compete with others the way they compete with me would be a game changer,” said Rob Rybick, President of Geissler’s Supermarket.

Forty-two states allow wine to be sold in grocery stores and 4 out of 6 New England states allow it.

But package stores say wine is their bread and butter.

“We can’t sell potato chips, we can’t sell deli meats. I don’t have a bank in my store, I don’t have a pharmacy, all we can sell is beer, wine and liquor,” said Chuck Bowe, with Grand Wine & Spirits.

The bill would allow grocery stores to sell wine from Connecticut and other small vineyards.

But hundreds of package store owners and wholesalers are speaking out against this. They say this is just a foot in the door. Soon it will be all wine.

The way the law is now, grocery stores can do what Costco and Stew Leonard’s have done. Both have liquor stores next door to where they sell groceries.

“I understand people want to buy wine in a supermarket, but I am sympathetic to all these small business owners who opened up their business under one set of rules and the state of Connecticut keeps changing the rules,” said Rep. Dave Rutigliano.

Public hearing held on wine in CT grocery stores