By Mike Pomranz
Updated February 14, 2017
Credit: © Mercer's Dairy

While many American politicians grapple with the big issues left in the wake of the 2016 election, one New York lawmaker has a smaller concern on his mind – namely smaller containers for wine ice cream. According to the Albany Times Union, State Senator Joe Griffo has introduced a bill specifically seeking to allow ice cream made with wine to be sold in containers smaller than a pint. Though Griffo is a Republican, this sounds like a bipartisan issue if I’ve ever heard one.

Believe it or not, back in 2008, New York actually passed specific legislation dealing with the sale of wine ice cream. At that time, lawmakers decided upon a number of rules including that wine ice cream can’t be higher than 5 percent ABV, it can’t be sold to anyone under the age of 21, and it can’t be sold in quantities less than a pint. Griffo suggests that last rule should be amended being that, since 2008, “the demand for smaller packaging for weddings, fundraisers, recreational tours and other events has increased,” according to a tweet from Politico New York’s Bill Mahoney. Though I don’t question the veracity of Griffo’s sentiment, I am left wondering what evidence the state senator has for this smaller wine ice cream packaging groundswell. Someone from the recreational tours lobby must really have Griffo’s attention!

Pasta with Borlotti Beans, Olives and Cherry Tomatoes
Credit: © James Baigrie

As the Times Union explains, if the bill passes, it would simply remove the current clause in the existing Agriculture and Markets Law that stipulates a minimum size for wine ice cream and that would be that. Unsurprisingly, Griffo is the state representative for Boonville, home to probably New York’s most famous wine ice cream producer, Mercer’s Dairy. And interestingly, he was also one of the lawmakers the dairy reached out to when it requested wine ice cream be made legal to sell in 2008. Maybe if they had some foresight, we wouldn’t even be in this situation to begin with!

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Still, I find it hard to believe we’ll see much pushback to smaller wine ice cream packages. Assuming it’s not considered a kickback, if the new rules go through, I think Mercer’s may want to send Griffo some wine ice cream as a thank you – but just a really small amount… like half a pint.