State law previously prohibited anything smaller than a pint.

By Rebekah Lowin
Updated June 27, 2017
mercers dairy wine ice cream
Credit: Courtesy of Mercer's Dairy

Our legislators have a lot on their dockets these days. They’ve got to balance the budget. They’ve got to build and maintain highways. They’ve got to improve the education system and figure out the whole healthcare thing and permit wine ice cream to be sold in smaller containers.

One of those isn’t exactly like the others, to be sure. But no matter; it was still, apparently, a priority for Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York. He just signed an ultra-important (or, well, ultra-delicious) law into effect that will allow the boozy dessert to be sold in “smaller containers.”

So, how’d wine-infused ice cream make its way into the political conversation, anyway? We have Mercer’s Dairy Farm to thank for that. The farm, located in Boonville, New York, began producing its wine ice cream about 10 years ago, but there’s a New York Agriculture and Markets Law that had previously required the dessert to be sold in large packaging. In the words of that law, that meant packaging equal to or bigger than a pint. According to the same law, wine ice cream also can’t contain an alcohol by volume ratio higher than 5 percent, and it’s not permissible to sell the frozen stuff to anyone under the age of 21.

Now, Mercer’s just might witness a huge boom in business. The Cuomo-approved bill, which updates that Agriculture and Markets Law, was sponsored by Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, and Assemblyman William Magee, D-Nelson, and it’s intended to help smaller business just like Mercer’s. The farm (and any other purveyors of wine ice cream) can now sell smaller packages of their ice cream at food fairs, weddings, fundraisers, and other places where an entire pint is just a little too big for hungry-but-not-that-hungry consumers to tote around.

“All across our state, small businesses and farms have long been the backbone of our local economies,” Griffo said in a press release. “Mercer’s Dairy is an example of the success that businesses and farms can experience when the state creates better conditions for business in New York, and I am glad that more people will now be able to enjoy this cool and delicious dessert as we enter the summer season.”

It’s actually due to Griffo’s efforts in Albany back in 2008 that it became legal for wine ice cream to be sold in New York state in the first place.

And yes, it really is all because people loved Mercer’s Ice Cream so much (both the 2008 law and this one). You can order their ice cream on the farm’s website.