New Alcohol Law Now in Effect

Sorry for the unusual email early in the week.  We had to get the word out about new alcohol legislation that went into affect this morning at 12:01 AM.

March 31st was a historic day for the Wine Industry in
North Carolina.  In case you haven't heard, yesterday was the last day to sell higher alcohol wines.  As of today no wine can legally be sold by wine retailers or restaurants over 10.78% abv.  As strange as that seems, the neo-prohibitionists, especially the group PEAT, People for Ethyl Alcohol Tolerance, have made their voice heard and won their forty-six year on-going battle to have the alcohol volume lowered in wine.  This new law goes into effect nationally December 1st, but the Sate of North Carolina volunteered to be the first test state eight months early.

What does this mean for us at the store?  We'll a whole bunch of work at first, as well as a huge capital expense.  To comply with the new law all retailers have to prove to an ALE agent that the bottles on display have been tested for alcohol level.  Currently, the only way to do this c is to buy a machine called the Bufort/Stern Alcohol Flowvert Determiner, B.S.A.F.D. for short.  As you might imagine these machines aren't easy to come by used on Ebay or Craig's List at the moment!  A new machine runs about 15,000 Euros from
Slovenia, or about $30,000!  We wish there was an easier way, but this is the only device that can measure a liquid's alcohol level through glass, plastic, cardboard and aluminum without touching the liquid thus avoiding contamination.  The only way a small business can afford such a contraption is to pass this cost on to the consumer.  We are going to charge a Bufort/Stern tax of twenty-five cents per bottle until the machine is paid for.  Sorry.

To comply, we had to pull the corks or open the screw tops on every bottle of wine in the store last night, use a turkey baster to suck out a few ounces, add distilled and purified water, measure the alcohol level with the BSAFD and then print a tag to show that bottle complies with the new standard.  Similar to a mattress tag, this alcohol proving tag has to be affixed on the front label prominently, just like the ABC tags you see on liquor bottles on bar shelves at restaurants here in NC.  Only this tag is about the size of an index card so it blocks the label entirely.  You have to lift up the tag to see the name of the wine.  Please pardon the appearance of our bottles on the shelves with their foils cut, giant ALE tags and the corks mostly pressed back into the bottles.  We did the best we could to make the bottles look un-opened.

Furthermore, until this practice starts directly at the wineries we no longer recommend aging any wine for more than a week or two.  Opening the bottles ahead of time and lowering the alcohol level certainly shortens its life!

Let's hope this new law is repealed quickly so we don't have to go through a short eternity of neo-prohibition.

Big Machine

Bufort/Stern Alcohol Flowvert Determiner (B.S.A.F.D)
Thank you for reading this email.
Happy April 1st.
Be well and drink well,
Seth Gross & Craig Heffley
Wine Authorities
How To Find Us

Wine Authorities is located at 2501 University Drive in Durham (accross the Street from Nana's and The Q-Shack, between the Little Gym and Thai Cafe.) Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 6:30 PM.  (919) 489-2884
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Discount Policy
10% off of any mixed six to eleven bottles
15% off of any mixed case of twelve (or more) bottles
20% off "Just-in-Case" -- solid cases of our stacked wines
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