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New York Wineries Upset with Canada

wineIf a customer with a Canadian accent comes to Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars in Hammondsport, Fred Frank knows they’re there to taste, not to buy.

That’s because it wouldn’t make financial sense.

Canadians who visit any of New York’s 255 wineries are allowed to bring home two bottles per person duty-free. But the price of wine bought in the U.S. almost doubles with duties and excise taxes imposed by the Ontario government if a Canadian returns home with more than two bottles.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers can fill the trunk of their car with bottles from the wineries that dot the northern side of Lake Ontario and pay insignificant taxes when they cross the border on their return home. The first two bottles also are duty-free.

“It’s bothersome because it’s unfair and it’s the antithesis of free trade,” said Frank, part owner of the winery. “For us, even though we are not close to the border, Toronto is closer than New York City.”

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