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Where is My Wine In Tennessee Grocery Stores?
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Where is My Wine In Tennessee Grocery Stores?

08.06.14
Tennessee's Wine in Grocery Stores law, which we affectionately call WIGS, is deep into its next test.  Will enough local voters sign petitions to place the local option election authorizing WIGS in your city or county on the ballot for approval?

Whilst Tennessee wallows in the WIGS battle, we hear Pink Floyd singing:

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun 
 

WIGS legalized wine in food stores.  But each city or county must have a local option election to authorize the sale of wine in food stores.  To place the local option on the ballot requires the signatures of 10 percent of the residents that voted in the last gubernatorial election.

Petitions must be completed and shared with the local election commissions by August 21 to be on the ballot for November 4th elections.

Although WIGS is hugely popular, the local option requirements pose a problem for some cities.

Confusion about WIGS complicates the local option process.  In Memphis, the Memphis Business Journal declared victory for wine, although WIGS insiders know Memphis is far short.  On average, about half of the signatures on wine petitions are from folks that do not vote in the city where they sign the petition, or are not registered voters.

The failure of Memphis to approve WIGS could be a huge setback for Memphis food stores that compete with grocers in Germantown, Bartlett and other suburbs.  Memphis is about half way to having enough petitioners to place WIGS on the ballot.

In addition, we have real concerns that Memphis voters may not approve WIGS at a popular election.

Other Tennessee cites are more promising for WIGS.  According to reliable sources, the following have enough signatures to place WIGS on the November 4 ballot:

 Alcoa
Brentwood
Bristol
Church Hill
Clarksville
Clinton
Dunlap
Dyersburg
Fairview
Farragut
Gallatin
Gatlinburg
Greeneville
Harriman
Hendersonville
Jonesborough
Kingsport
Kingston
Unincorporated Knox County
Knoxville
Lebanon
Lenoir City
Loudon
Maryville
Morristown
Mount Juliet
Murfreesboro
Newport
Oak Ridge
Oakland
Paris
Pleasant View
Rogersville
Sevierville
Smyrna
Spring Hill
Thompson's Station
 
We understand that WIGS is close to having enough signatures to be on the ballot in Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin and Hendersonville.  Same with Chattanooga.

But the August 21 petition deadline is just days away.  Wine in Tennessee grocery stores is at a critical crossroad in many cities.  Although WIGS is largely about convenience to customers, the failure of a city to approve WIGS will be a huge blow to grocers trying to compete against grocers in neighboring cities.

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