Senator Ritchie’s Frozen Wine Dessert Bill Passes

Patty Ritchie

May 16, 2011

Bill Allows Innovation, New Products, New Jobs In Food, Wine Industry

State Senator Patty Ritchie’s bill (S4054) to allow the sale of wine flavored frozen desserts in New York State passed the Senate.

“With record unemployment, New York State needs to encourage innovation in its wine industry and commercial food industries to make it easier for companies to create new products using what's already produced on New York’s farms,” Senator Ritchie said. “As the chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, I felt it was vital to help encourage food manufacturers to use wine as an ingredient in more desserts like sorbets to help create new products, new businesses and new jobs both on farms, at wineries and in our manufacturing plants.”

The new law allows companies to use wine up to five percent alcohol by volume in any frozen dessert.

“New York State’s wine industry is one of our growth industries,” Senator Ritchie said. “It has grown from fewer than 20 wineries in the state 30 years ago to over 200 today, with many opening over the past decade in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. That’s why I felt it was very important for me to remove any hurdles in New York State laws or regulations preventing businesses from using New York State’s wines to produce new products.”

The law amends the Agriculture and Markets Law, the Public Health Law and the ABC Law to remove barriers to producing, selling, packaging and distributing the products.

Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair William Magee and New York Farm Bureau asked Senator Ritchie to introduce the bill as chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Under the law, buyers will have to show proof they are at least 21 years of age to purchase frozen wine desserts. Stores and restaurants will have to provide standard warnings that the product contains alcohol and should not be used if operating machinery or if pregnant.

No incidents have been reported of individuals charged with DWI as a result of eating too much wine ice cream. Two pints of wine ice cream would equal a glass of wine. A can of beer typically contains five to seven percent by volume.