Wine won't be available in grocery stores anytime soon - WKRN News 2

Wine won't be available in grocery stores anytime soon

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Tennesseans will have to wait at least another year before they can buy wine in the state grocery stores.

A legislative committee chair said the bill to allow such wine sales needs more study.

Senator Bill Keatron said the issue is too complicated and needs study over the summer.

He said, "I do think our laws in this state are very archaic and need to be addressed."

Currently, bottles of wine can only be bought in liquor stores.

Proponents for both sides of the issue packed a Capitol Hill committee room Tuesday.

Each side wore a sticker stating their preference while listening to testimony.

Jarron Springer, grocery store lobbyist, said, "Two of the most frequent questions asked at our store is, ‘Where is the wine?' and ‘Why can't you sell wine?"

Chip Christianson, liquor store owner, said, "Kroger, Wal-Mart and Walgreens will not hire one additional employee to sell wine in their stores.  I can guarantee you we will lose employees... And it's going to hurt 525 Tennessee residents who are small business people."

"I think our consumers will outnumber any number of lobbyists who are down here and consumers can speak up," said Springer.

So far, however, wine-drinking Tennesseans haven't been heard.

At least one shopper who spoke with News 2 said having wine available in grocery stores would be more convenient.

Johnny Mutina said, "I like to be able to buy wine for that dinner I am cooking and sometimes that's all decided while I am roaming the aisles of the grocery store then I have to go make a separate trip."

The same senate committee also postponed action on another bill affecting wine sales Tuesday.

The measure would allow direct shipping of wine to Tennessee residents over 21 years of age.

It is not clear when or if the bill will be brought up again.

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