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A sign outside Trader Joe's in Centennial notifies customers that the store will start selling wine in March 2023. (Tamara Chuang, The Colorado Sun)

It’s almost wine-o-clock.

As Coloradans browse the aisles of their local grocery and convenience stores in March, looking for the right loaf of bread or reasonably priced eggs, they will soon have a new option for soothing their inflation-squeezed shopping experience: wine.

That’s because voters in November approved a ballot initiative allowing wine to be sold in grocery and convenience stores. Proposition 125 narrowly passed with 50.6% of voters in favor.

Both grocery and convenience stores with a license to sell beer can begin selling wine March 1. That’s approximately 1,900 licensees as of this month, according to the Department of Revenue. They’ll also be able to offer beer and wine tastings. 

The Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, which represents small liquor retailers, opposed the measure and warns that its members could be crushed by the change.

“While many liquor stores will adapt and outsell grocery stores because of their selection, we foresee approximately a third of the 1,600 independent liquor stores across the state are in danger of losing their business,” said Chris Fine, executive director of the organization. 

The measure also didn’t change any other existing alcohol-sales rules, such as the prohibition of sales between midnight and 8 a.m., and no alcohol sales to anyone under 21. 

Stores that plan to immediately add wine at all of their Colorado locations include Trader Joe’s, King Soopers and Safeway. 

While Safeway confirmed they are preparing their shelves now, grocery stores aren’t allowed to stock their stores with wine until March 1, a spokesperson said. 

Two other alcohol-related ballot measures, Propositions 124 and 126, failed on the November ballot.

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Elliott Wenzler

Elliott Wenzler is a reporter for the Colorado Sun, covering local politics, the state legislature and other topics. She also assists with The Unaffiliated newsletter. Previously, she was a community reporter in Douglas County for Colorado Community Media. She has won awards for her...