RARITAN TWP., NJ – The next time there’s a looming snowstorm and you go to Flemington ShopRite for milk, eggs and bread, you might also be able to pick up another item many shoppers consider essential:
The sales of wine and beer in supermarkets is common in many states but rare in New Jersey. That’s largely because state rules basically limit liquor licenses to two licenses per owner, and the number of the most common types of liquor licenses in any municipality is determined by population.
But there are some exceptions. One of them provides that wine can be sold by stores such as a supermarket by becoming a winery’s offsite retail outlet. The license for such a sale is granted by the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
That’s the case with ShopRite here, where East Amwell-based Unionville Vineyards is seeking to locate a winery outlet at the supermarket, according to an undated letter the vineyard recently sent to the township.
If granted, the license would also allow shoppers to sample the wines in the store,
Township officials have the authority to limit the hours of wine sales, and even object to the license entirely. However, in a brief discussion of the license at this week’s Township Committee meeting, officials gave no hint that they’d object to the license.
State rules limit the off-site sales of wine to vineyards that grow grapes on more than 3 acres, so the ShopRite option is not available to everyone who makes their own wine at home.