NASHVILLE — As Tennesseans enter their last holiday season unable to pick up a bottle of wine in their local grocery stores, state regulators and Tennessee's liquor wholesalers and retail grocers are gearing up for the launch of wine sales in grocery stores next July 1.
Grocers say they're making plans and designing layouts for their wine aisles or sections, but with seven months to go, it's too early to clear out shelf space yet.
It's a different story for the 51 liquor wholesalers across the state: they're the businesses that will deliver wine to grocery stores in the 83 Tennessee towns, cities and counties whose voters have already approved grocery-store wine sales in local referendums since the state Legislature authorized it in 2014. Wholesalers are moving from a business environment in which they service retail liquor stores and restaurants to one where they will be delivering to eligible food stores as well.
Estimates vary on how many stores will sell wine.