Washington Post Names New Hampshire Best State for Wine Drinkers

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Granite State scored an A+ on American Wine Consumer Coalition Report Card; Consumers can choose from 7,000 wines at the state’s 77 NH Liquor & Wine Outlets.

Experts may argue over which state grows the best grapes, but there’s no debate for consumers: Your best place to live free and sip is New Hampshire.

New Hampshire is the best state in the United States for wine drinkers, according to Washington Post opinion writer Reid Wilson. In giving New Hampshire top billing in a report last week, the Post noted New Hampshire’s A+ rating on the American Wine Consumer Coalition 2013 Report Card, and lauded the state’s non-taxed wine, price, availability and regulatory structure. The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) offers more than 7,000 wines in its 77 New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets and has become nationally known for its annual New Hampshire Wine Week, which draws dozens of the biggest names in the wine world and industry experts for a week of consumer-focused events including intimate wine dinners, exclusive panel discussions and tastings and the largest wine event in northern New England.

“Experts may argue over which state grows the best grapes, but there’s no debate for consumers: Your best place to live free and sip is New Hampshire,” wrote Reid Wilson of the Washington Post. “What sets New Hampshire apart from the other top-performing states, however, is its tax regime. It's the only one of those top-performing states that doesn't levy a tax on wine. California levies an excise tax on wine at a relatively puny 20 cents per gallon, while D.C. piles $1.61 per gallon onto the list price… But unlike [other control states], where government monopoly is a vestige of prohibition, New Hampshire's state-run liquor stores are more aggressive in their marketing.”

Wilson referenced the Granite State’s A+ ranking in The American Wine Consumer Coalition 2013 State-by-State Report Card which proclaimed, “No state treats wine consumers better than New Hampshire given its laws that provide outstanding access to wine and its laws that provide wine lovers with great convenience.” The report cited the convenience of shopping for wine in NH Liquor & Wine Outlets, wine shops, and grocery stores, along with the ability for consumers to ship wine directly to their homes. The report also referenced New Hampshire law which allows consumers to bring bottles from their personal collection into restaurants to enjoy with their meal and lack of “Blue Laws,” prohibiting the ban of wine sales on Sunday.

“We are particularly pleased to be recognized by the Washington Post and American Wine Consumer Coalition as a premier shopping destination for wine enthusiasts,” said NHLC Chairman Joseph W. Mollica. “Our staff works extremely hard to ensure that our nearly ten million annual consumers have the very best selection of fine wine and spirits at unbeatable prices. With $278.5 million in wine sales last year, we believe the formula is working.”

Chairman Mollica added the NHLC recently enjoyed its best sales year on record in Fiscal Year 2014 with $626 million in total sales, an increase of $23 million – or nearly 4% over the previous fiscal year.

According to Chairman Mollica the NHLC has consistently and innovatively worked to make sure consumers are aware that New Hampshire is the ideal place to purchase wine and spirits.

Each year in late January, the biggest names in the wine world flock to New Hampshire – not Napa Valley – for a week-long celebration of wine known as New Hampshire Wine Week. For the past 10 years New Hampshire Wine Week has attracted legends like Michael Mondavi, Cristina Mariani-May, Joel Peterson and Merry Edwards who participate in dozens of events in every corner of the state.

“From intimate wine dinners pairing delectable cuisine with fantastic wines, bottle signings, exclusive wine discussions and tastings, and the Winter Wine Spectacular, Wine Week is the ultimate experience for those who appreciate wine,” said Nicole Brassard Jordan, New Hampshire Liquor Commission Wine Marketing Specialist. “Wine Week was specifically designed with the consumer in mind. We have created an environment where consumers can interact and learn directly from wine celebrities and sample a wide variety of wines – something that only happens in New Hampshire.”

With the strategic renovation and relocation of 15 NH Liquor & Wine Outlets since 2012, the NHLC has specifically focused on showcasing its wine portfolio. As part of a $30 million redevelopment of the north and southbound rest areas on Interstate 93 in Hooksett, the NHLC is constructing two, new, state-of-the-art, 20,000 square foot NH Liquor & Wine Outlets to replace existing stores, which will expand the stores’ wine selections by 75 percent and boost total liquor and wine sales by an additional $6 million each year. The new NH Liquor & Wine Outlet in Bedford, which opened in November 2013, features a specialty wine room containing new arrivals and featured products that are only available on a limited basis. The NHLC also introduced a hand-crafted French EuroCave temperature-controlled wine cabinet for rare finds at the new Bedford store.

Customer service is of particular importance to the NHLC, which has made it a point to ensure NH Liquor & Wine Outlet employees are well-versed in the world’s many wines. The NHLC regularly hosts trainings to give employees the chance to taste and learn about a variety of wines and most recently held a series of trainings on northern Italian wines.

About the New Hampshire Liquor Commission

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) operates 77 retail locations throughout the Granite State and serves more than 9 million customers each year. More than $3 billion in net profits has been raised since the first store opened in 1934. NHLC had its best sales year ever in Fiscal Year 2014, generating $626 million in gross sales, an increase of $23 million – or nearly 4% over the previous fiscal year. Total liquor net profits transferred to the New Hampshire’s General Fund reached $148 million, which are used to fund programs including education, health and social services, transportation and natural resource protection. NHLC is expecting to net an additional $1 billion for New Hampshire’s General Fund in the next seven years.

Visit http://www.LiquorandWineOutlets.com to locate a store, search for product availability, learn about monthly sales, review wine tasting schedules, and sign up to receive significant savings with monthly Email Extras.


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E.J. Powers
New Hampshire Liquor Commission
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