Even though cider is apple wine, New York State Liquor Authority Licensing Unit 1 advises that custom production of wine for customers does not include cider (apple wine). However, Licensing Unit 1 also states that all of the privileges and restrictions that apply to wine under the NY Farm winery law apply to cider. A licensee asked me to clarify how these are consistent, and frankly, they are not. Let’s examine the text of the ABC law.
Looking at the definitions of wine and cider in the ABC law below, it seems clear that apple wine is wine as defined in Section 36. Section 7-b (b) also acknowledges that a product can meet both the definition of a wine and a cider simultaneously. Lastly, section 76-a (2)(a) allows a farm winery to produce wine and cider. Thus, I am not clear why the Authority takes the position that custom cider making at a farm winery is not legal under the current statute.
36. “Wine” means the product of the normal alcoholic fermentation of the juice of fresh, sound, ripe grapes, or other fruits or plants with the usual cellar treatment and necessary additions to correct defects due to climatic, saccharine and seasonal conditions, including champagne, sparkling and fortified wine of an alcoholic content not to exceed twenty-four per centum by volume. Wine produced from fruits or plants other than grapes shall include appropriate prefixes descriptive of the fruit or the product from which such wine was predominantly produced, and no other product shall be called “wine” unless designated as artificial or imitation wine.
7-b. (a) “Cider” means the partially or fully fermented juice of fresh, whole apples or other pome fruits, containing more than three and two-tenths per centum but not more than eight and one-half per centum alcohol by volume: (i) to which nothing has been added to increase the alcoholic content produced by natural fermentation; and (ii) with the usual cellar treatments and necessary additions to correct defects due to climate, saccharine levels and seasonal conditions. Nothing contained in this subdivision shall be deemed to preclude the use of such methods or materials as may be necessary to encourage a normal alcoholic fermentation and to make a product that is free of microbiological activity at the time of sale. Cider may be sweetened or flavored after fermentation with fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, sugar, maple syrup, honey, spices or other agricultural products, separately or in combination. Cider may contain retained or added carbon dioxide.
(b) In the event that an alcoholic beverage meets the definition of both a cider, as defined in this subdivision, and a wine, as defined in subdivision thirty-six of this section, the brand or trade name label owner of such alcoholic beverage shall designate whether such alcoholic beverage shall be sold as a cider or a wine for all purposes under this chapter.
§ 76-a. Farm winery license. 2. A farm winery license shall authorize the holder thereof to: (a) operate a farm winery for the manufacture of wine or cider at the premises specifically designated in the license; 9. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a farm winery licensed pursuant to this section may engage in custom wine production allowing individuals to assist in the production of wine for sale for personal or family use, provided, however, that (a) the wine must be purchased by the individual assisting in the production of such wine; and (b) the owner, employee or agent of such winery shall be present at all times during such production.
What do you think? Do you think the farm winery law should allow custom production of cider a/k/a apple wine?