Primary Source laws at the state level generally prohibit wine retailers and restaurants from procuring wine and spirits inventory from any source other than that designated by the producers as the “primary source” for a product in a given state.
Most often these restrictive laws existing in various state or proposed in others are justified on consumer protection grounds by referencing threats of counterfeit products of products that have been tampered with. Yet counterfeit products are extraordinarily rare when brought in through “grey markets” as are tampered products. Most often Primary Source laws are really just devices to protect the designated wholesalers from competition.
Grey market sales are extraordinarily important sources of products for retailers and restaurants seeking to provide customers with out-of-vintage wines, rare wines and wines no longer sold by wholesalers. This channel is responsible for making New York, California and other states without Primary Source laws among the most vibrant wine markets in the United States.
NAWR has and will continue to actively opposed Primary Source legislation in that has been proposed in New York as well as any other state. Keeping markets as open and accessible as possible is a critical requirement for not only retailers of wine and spirits but also for consumers seeking choice, access to a wide variety of products and lower prices.