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Wine in Groceries May Pass in 2014 - John Dunn

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There is a strong call to finally pass wine in grocery stores. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey says the time has come. He believes that bill will pass in 2014.

Shoppers at Kroger in Belle Meade can find most anything they will need for their holiday meal, but many would also like a bottle of wine. "I think it's just able to save time in the day, you can have just one place you can go to and get everything prepared for a meal, and not have to fight the traffic, and do a one stop shop," says shopper Kelly Ritchie.

The state legislature has debated the idea for years, and it will come up again in 2014. "It really is time for that bill to pass, we've got it on the Senate floor," says Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, (R) Blountville.

Ramsey supports a bill allowing local communities to hold referendums on wine in groceries. He says most Tennesseans want it to pass. "That may be the one issue that people stop you about more than anything and talk about," says Lt. Gov. Ramsey.

Kroger grocery stores have been well represented in this fight. Many stores have displays encouraging customers to support wine sales. Spokesperson Melissa Eads is hopeful next year brings passage. "So I think 2014 is the year we're going to make some progress," says Eads.

Just down the road, there is a much different feeling. Two thirds of every dollar sold at West Meade Wine and Liquor Mart comes from wine. Nearly all liquor stores in Tennessee are mom and pop operations. Owners and managers worry about losing business. "It will put multiple licensees out of business.  There is no doubt about it," says West Meade manager Phil Wilson.

While there is new momentum behind passing wine and groceries, the same fight behind the issue remains.

This bill is already up for passage in the Senate, but in the House it was defeated in a committee. It is very possible, however, that the committee will reconsider its action in the new year.

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