NEW YORK GOVERNOR GEORGE PATAKI ADDRESSES WINE INDUSTRY ISSUES IN NAPA VALLEY
9/30/1999 - Governor George Pataki, in California on a fact finding visit this week, told Napa Valley Vintners he intends to introduce legislation that will allow the direct shipment of California wines to the State of New York. Governor Pataki was the featured speaker at the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) General Membership meeting Wednesday, September 29, and the direct shipping issue dominated his comments.
While the legislation remains to be drafted, he warned it will not be "wide open." He did offer a timeline, however, stating, "I believe we can do it next year. I look forward to continuing to work with NVV President Tom Shelton and others here to get the legislation passed in the coming year."
"I totally support the concept of free trade - it's absolutely wrong that Napa Valley winemakers cannot have direct access to New York's 18 million consumers, likewise, it's absolutely wrong that visitors here from the state of New York can't purchase Napa Valley wines and have them shipped back to their homes," he said.
Pataki told the group, however, that as Governor he is also obligated to protect New York wine producers since "they have no one else who will."
"But competition is a good thing and I am absolutely confident we can work things out. I'm here to find out more about what the industry is doing and what other states are doing," he said.
"It's been my pleasure to meet with Governor Pataki on several occasions to discuss a plan for reciprocity with the state of New York. His willingness to visit the Valley and address Napa Valley Vintners on such a controversial issue demonstrates authentic leadership - I'm confident we will reach an agreement in the coming year," Shelton said.
The Napa Valley Vintners is a professional non-profit trade organization representing 160 Napa Valley wineries in marketing and promotional activities throughout the united States and abroad. NVV maintains a website at www.napavintners.com.