Senate Passes Legislation Sponsored by Senator Valesky to Expand Wine Industry

David J. Valesky

March 11, 2010

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—New York State’s growing wine industry received a boost today with passage of legislation (S.6780) sponsored by Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) that would legalize the sale of wine-based frozen desserts.

Legislation passed in 2008 legalized the sale of wine ice cream, and this bill expands the law to include non-dairy based frozen treats such as sorbet and sherbet.

Senator Valesky recognized the need for expansion of the law after speaking to producers that wanted to market wine sorbet, but found that current law would not permit it.

“This legislation provides another opportunity for small agri-businesses and the wine industry to grow in New York State,” Senator Valesky said. “We have high quality ingredients in New York, and innovative minds who create and produce innovative products each and every day. By eliminating restrictions, we can open up new markets for these products and producers, and help strengthen the New York State economy.”

The legislation contains the same provisions mandated in the original law, including a five percent alcohol content limit, restricting sales to those over 21 years of age, and requiring product labeling and warning statements similar to those established for other frozen desserts containing alcohol.

The New York State wine industry has an estimated $3.76 billion economic impact each year. More than 12,000 employees work in 255 wineries, 96 of which are located in Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region. Approximately 16,000 tons of grapes are crushed to make 40 million gallons—or 200 million bottles—each year, making New York State the nation’s third largest wine producer in the United States. Nearly five million tourists generated $377 million in economic activity in 2008.

For more information about the New York wine industry, visit