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New York Times Wine Club Halts Shipments To New York State Customers

April 22, 2015

New York Times Wine Club customers in New York state are no longer getting their wine, after the in-state wholesaler and retailer that work with the wine club cancelled their contracts.

Attorney Joseph Ascoli, who represents the wine club’s operator—California-based Global Wine Company—told the Albany Times-Union that the wholesaler and retailer who work with the New York Times Wine Club in New York both sent cease-and-desist letters to Global earlier this year, essentially halting the wine club’s operations in the Empire State.

However, last week, the wine club’s New York members were told a different story by its customer service manager, who sent an email to them that read in part, “The state of New York has requested that Wine Clubs do not ship into the state until they resolve their process for Internet wine sales. They have notified us that they anticipate a resolution in early July, and we hope to resume shipping shortly thereafter.”

But New York’s State Liquor Authority told the Times-Union that it never asked the wine club to cease shipments into the state—and the New York Times Wine Club admitted as much in a second email to customers earlier this week. “We would like to clarify any misunderstanding regarding the email you received last week,” the customer service manager wrote. “The New York State Liquor Authority has not directed or otherwise ordered The New York Times Wine Club to suspend its operation in New York. This was done voluntarily so that we at The New York Times Wine Club can review our method of operation to make sure we’re in full compliance with state laws and regulations.”

Ascoli, who told the Times-Union that the initial email included “inaccuracies,” maintains that the wine club decided to halt shipments to New York after receiving the cease-and-desist letters. However, he also admitted that continuing such shipments may have violated New York’s laws, which hold that only state licensees can sell wine in New York, and that a third party can’t participate in the selection of wines sold by in-state wholesalers and retailers.

Neither the New York Times Wine Club nor the New York State Liquor Authority were available for comment this morning.

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