Memphis Liquor Stores hoping Wine Bill Dies

(Memphis)  Tennessee is one step closer to having wine in grocery stores.

For the first time in seven years, a bill passed an important senate committee vote.

We are following the progress of the bill and so are liquor store owners who don’t want to see it become law.

Marina Packis says she loves her job.

“It’s a lot of fun. You get to meet some great people,” she said.

But she could lose it if Tennessee starts allowing grocery stores to sell wine, “All in the name of convenience.”

She’s been in the wine business at Kimbrough Wine and Spirit’s for 16 years.

“Do you know what people want when they walk in?” asked Reporter Sabrina Hall.

“Usually,” she said.  “I can walk around and see what`s sold and pretty much tell you who has been here.”

Packis says a wine connoisseur wouldn’t find that personal touch at a grocery store and fears that some of the 160 wine and liquor stores in Memphis could close if the bill is passed, especially stores like hers that specialize in wine.

“I know liquor drinkers will be opposed to it because liquor prices will go up,” she said.

She says stores would have to raise their liquor prices to make-up for lost wine sales.

But if the state bill passes, Grocery stores won’t atomically be able to sell wine. The bill calls for a referendum to let voters decide.

“What would the public want?” asked Hall.

“That is an interesting question. I would be curious to see how that does shake out if it indeed does get that far.”

Packis is hoping it doesn’t, “We hope that it basically goes away, that everything remains the same and they back off of it.”

The bill has several more hurdles before it can become law and Packis says liquor and wine store lobbyists will be fighting it all the way.

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