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Long Islanders Excited About Law Allowing For Farm Stand Wine Sales

MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Would you like a bottle of wine with that pumpkin?

Thanks to a law singed this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, you will be able to get one. The law allows wine to be sold at roadside farm stands, CBS affiliate WBNG-TV, Binghamton reported.

A separate law designates sections of state highways near wineries and vineyards as "wine trails."

"These new laws will build on our continuing efforts to promote New York's wine industry across the state and beyond, boosting tourism, local economies and job growth," Cuomo said in a news release Monday. "We are increasing market opportunities for local producers and farmers and expanding our wine trails to attract tourists to communities across Upstate New York."

But it is not just upstate New York that will benefit from the law. As TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported, the law has wine lovers in eastern Long Island cheering the convenience of picking up their choice at the local farm stand, rather than traveling to the vineyard that made it.

As the wine flowed, day trippers drawn to wine tasting tours on the North Fork of Long Island were toasting word that they would be able to buy their favorite vineyards' wine at farm stands within 20 miles.

"It makes sense to me. Why wouldn't you try these wines at home," said Richie Walsh of Bellmore. "You know, it's hard. We live an hour and a half away, so it's hard to come out here every day to find these great wines."

While picking up a giant-sized pumpkin at their local farm stand, Fred Varbarg and his daughter, Kerri, said they will add wine to their list now.

"I think it's a great idea," Verbarg said.

The Long Island Farm Bureau said it is creating a new year-round draw for many seasonal businesses.

"We have a little over 50 wineries, and certainly we have 100 farm stands both on the North and South Fork and western Suffolk," said bureau executive director Joseph Gergela.

But unlike the vineyards, customers will not be able to taste the wine onsite at farm stands. They will only be able to buy it by the bottle, so as to prevent drunken driving.

Despite the potential windfall, some farm stand operators have hesitated over the potential liability.

"I just have some reservations about whether people are going to drive and drink with it in their car," said Jeff Rottkamp of Fox Hollow Farms.

But the trained therapists rehabilitating maltreated horses at Baiting Hollow Horse Rescue Farm have no doubts about the new roadside sales. The nonprofit actually produces and sells its own local wine to pay for the care of the horses.

"We rescue, rehab, and give love to unwanted horses," said Kim Kelly of the rescue farm.

The farm is now counting on supporters to ask farm stands to carry its wine.

"Absolutely – that's why I'm buying it," said wine tasting tour participant Mary Tindle. "That's why I'm buying it, so I can help the horses and rescue the ones that need homes."

Agriculture is a $300 million business on Long Island, and farm analysts believe the new law could boost sales 5 to 10 percent for the local vineyards and farm stands while forging a new relationship for the classic east end attractions.

Cuomo signed four separate laws Monday. The farm markets legislation will allow farm stands to sell wines produced by up to two licensed farm wineries, special wineries or micro-wineries within 20 miles, according to the release.

The other four laws establish, expand or rename existing wine trails in New York state.

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