Bread, milk, and a bottle of wine? - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bread, milk, and a bottle of wine?

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Allowing wine in supermarkets has been a hot topic in Tennessee for many years. State lawmakers finally passed the law this year, but before you see wine on your grocery store shelves voters still have to approve the sales by local referendum. Several grocery stores throughout Hamilton County are hosting petition drives to get the wine sales in grocery referendum on the November 4th ballot.

Hundreds of local signatures are accumulating by the day on the petitions that would give local voters the option to vote for or against allowing wine sales at their neighborhood grocery stores.

"It would be so much more convenient. You could pick it up with your groceries. You wouldn't have to make an extra trip," Chattanooga resident Teresa Spilko said.

"I myself don't drink wine or alcohol but people cook with it and I feel that if they want to be able to purchase it here that it's a lot easier than going to a package store," Soddy-Daisy resident Kimberly Crowe said.

So far the non-profit group leading the effort, Red, White and Food, reports around 119,000 Tennesseans have signed the petition. Some small locally-owned wine shops and their loyal customers have voiced concern that the move could hurt their businesses.

"It's a catch 22. I don't want to run anybody else out of business but it will help the grocery stores. It's just hard to know which is best," Red Bank resident Billie Glasscock said.

Publix has been pushing the petition effort for weeks, while Bi-Lo just got on board. Its Dayton Boulevard location got more than 100 signatures one day in.

"We'll just see how the public wants it," Glasscock said after signing the petition.

In order for the question to be on the ballot, each municipality has to gather the signatures of at least 10-percent of its voter population. In communities were the vote is passed, grocery stores will be able to sell wine beginning July 1st, 2016.

The petitions are being picked up August 1. The election commission has to verify the petition signatures by August 21.
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