HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- On Tuesday, dozens of wine growers protested a law they claim could put their businesses in jeopardy.

A group of vineyards and farm winery owners say a new law would create an unfair playing field for local wine growers.

They say the new law allows businesses to import grapes from other states and still call themselves wineries.

"We know we have to fight against the weather, we know we have to fight against insects and bugs, we didn’t expect we’d have to fight against the people that represent us,” said Jim Melillo, of Priam Vineyards.

Critics claim the bill gives advantages to Connecticut breweries and businesses that sell out of state wine.

"This bill suffocates the farm winery industry. This is a serious problem that we need to address," said Senator Christine Cohen. 

However, one of the law's sponsors says that's not true.

"What the new law does is level the playing field for everyone; distillers, farm wineries, wine makers," said Rep. Mike D'Agostino. 

Rep. D'Agostino says wine makers and vineyards have completely different business models and points out farm wineries still retain big advantages like tax breaks and state marketing dollars for the CT Wine Trail. 

"We are trying to benefit everyone in Connecticut, the manufacturers, the consumers, everyone," D'Agostino said. 

It's unclear if the fight will lead anywhere. Farm wineries claim more than a dozen legislators support them, but they need more backers to change the law before it goes into effect on July 1. 

This new permit will allow businesses to make 100,000 gallons of wine or any other type of alcohol a year. 

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(1) comment

Sunsearay999

Why doesn't the lawmakers leave things alone? Who paid them to do this??

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