Jump to content
Tweaked

Wine Laws -- Shipping, To-Go, and More

Recommended Posts

Maryland has passed a law that allows diners to recork their bottle of wine and take it home with them from the restaurant.

(This is big news!)

Cheers,

Rocks.

That's way cool. Now what do we need to do to get DC to do the same thing?

Seriously, how can we get DC to do the same thing? I just spent some time bumping around RAMW's site and couldn't find any position, one way or the other.

I'd think that this would have broad support from restauranteurs who'd like to sell some of their more expensive bottles, anti drunk driving advocates who will applaud the presumed fewer folks on the road that just had to finish that 3rd glass, and all those who enjoy a good glass of vino but hate to order a $15 splash when a whole bottle is such a better value.

It wouldn't bother me as much if 1) I lived a little closer to the Metro and didn't drive almost everywhere 2) wines by the glass were priced better 3) half bottle selections were a little more common.

What am I missing? It seems to work well in VA and MD, is there real opposition here or has nobody tried to do it yet? Any of you legal eagles out there know part of the DC code that would need to be amended to make this happen?

I need a project for the new year. This may be it. Who wants to help?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
all those who enjoy a good glass of vino but hate to order a $15 splash when a whole bottle is such a better value.
Don't leave out those of us that are trying to kid themselves into thinking we are only going to have one glass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Don't leave out those of us that are trying to kid themselves into thinking we are only going to have one glass.

Yup, those folks are welcome too. Also, I could have sworn that I added an x to the "bordeaux" in the subtitle of this thread. Perhaps I exceeded the max. character limit? Hey Mr. Rocks, any chance you can fix that for me?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The National Restaurant Association website has a list of the 34 state laws as of July 2006 allowing consumers to take partially consumed wine from restaurants: http://www.restaurant.org/government/state...c_recorking.pdf. These are called "cork and go" or "merlot to go" laws. Lobbying the DC government would be the way to go.

According to the National Restaurant Association research, the DC law prohibits anyone from "drinking[ing] [or] possess[ing] in an open container an alcoholic beverage in or upon a vehicle that is in or upon any street, alley, park, or parking area," and there is no law that expressly prohibits a customer from removing a partially finished bottle of wine from a restaurant. If a restaurant owner allowed a consumer to take a partially consumed bottle of wine home in a tamper-proof, one time use, sealed plastic bag, would that comply with the law, since the person would not possess an alcoholic beverage in a "container" that is "open?" If restaurants in DC starting to offer that service, maybe it would stir some action.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
there is no law that expressly prohibits a customer from removing a partially finished bottle of wine from a restaurant.
So, would restaraunts let me take home my unfinished wine if I walked home? That would both prevent me from drinking so much and give reason to exercise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So, would restaraunts let me take home my unfinished wine if I walked home? That would both prevent me from drinking so much and give reason to exercise.
And drive up your property value amongst DC's Burgundy drinkers :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The National Restaurant Association website has a list of the 34 state laws as of July 2006 allowing consumers to take partially consumed wine from restaurants: http://www.restaurant.org/government/state...c_recorking.pdf. These are called "cork and go" or "merlot to go" laws. Lobbying the DC government would be the way to go.

According to the National Restaurant Association research, the DC law prohibits anyone from "drinking[ing] [or] possess[ing] in an open container an alcoholic beverage in or upon a vehicle that is in or upon any street, alley, park, or parking area," and there is no law that expressly prohibits a customer from removing a partially finished bottle of wine from a restaurant. If a restaurant owner allowed a consumer to take a partially consumed bottle of wine home in a tamper-proof, one time use, sealed plastic bag, would that comply with the law, since the person would not possess an alcoholic beverage in a "container" that is "open?" If restaurants in DC starting to offer that service, maybe it would stir some action.

not to be a grammar nerd, but what you mean to say, I think, is: If a restaurant owner allowed a consumer to take a partially consumed bottle of wine home in a tamper-proof, one time use, sealed, plastic bag, would that comply with the law

There is a slight and subtle meaning change if you put the comma in after sealed. Ignore me if I'm too big of a nerd to have noticed that :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ignore me if I'm too big of a nerd to have noticed that :lol:
This board is going to drive you nuts. [You forgot to end your sentence with a period, among several grammar and punctuation mistakes.]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The National Restaurant Association website has a list of the 34 state laws as of July 2006 allowing consumers to take partially consumed wine from restaurants: http://www.restaurant.org/government/state...c_recorking.pdf.

This document lists Virginia as one of four states "where bills have been defeated." So what's the real story in Virginia? I thought (and this thread suggests) it is legal to recork and go here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here in California, I beleive the rule is only unfinished bottles. Just like in DC, there is a different tax structure for liquor sales, etc. But in DC, it would be more $$ for the city, with its 10% sales tax, so why not...

just my 2 cents

Dave (San Francisco?) Batista :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here in California, I beleive the rule is only unfinished bottles. Just like in DC, there is a different tax structure for liquor sales, etc. But in DC, it would be more $$ for the city, with its 10% sales tax, so why not...

just my 2 cents

Dave (San Francisco?) Batista :lol:

Dude, you're in CA now. way cool. Glad to see you're keepinig track of us folks back here on the right coast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So, would restaraunts let me take home my unfinished wine if I walked home? That would both prevent me from drinking so much and give reason to exercise.
There are different licenses for on- and off-premises sale. Right now, you can't do both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are different licenses for on- and off-premises sale. Right now, you can't do both.

This comment gets a bit closer to the heart of the problem in DC. Two laws need to be changed in order to be able to take partially consumed wine home in your car from a DC restaurant.

First, the type of licenses in DC are either for off-premises consumption (liquor stores etc.) on on-premises consumption (restaurants and bars). As such, if a restaurant allowed you to walk out the door with any alcoholic beverage you bought there it would be placing its license in jeopardy. It doesn't matter whether the container is sealed, whether you even opened the bottle, or anything else.

Second, if you are driving, you cannot have an opened bottle of alcohol in your car.

So the first thing that has to happen is to modify the license law. If it were, you could walk home with your leftover but you still couldn't drive home. For that, the second law, about having an open bottle in your car, also has to be modified.

Interestingly, if I'm reading all this correctly, if you bring your own bottle to the restaurant AND walk home with the leftovers, that is OK under current DC law. Note, however, that it is against the law in DC to consume any alcoholic beverage in a public place, so you can't have a swig along the way, but I'm not aware that simply walking down the street with a resealed bottle in your possession constitutes consumption. Others more familiar with the laws may know better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This comment gets a bit closer to the heart of the problem in DC. Two laws need to be changed in order to be able to take partially consumed wine home in your car from a DC restaurant.

First, the type of licenses in DC are either for off-premises consumption (liquor stores etc.) on on-premises consumption (restaurants and bars). As such, if a restaurant allowed you to walk out the door with any alcoholic beverage you bought there it would be placing its license in jeopardy. It doesn't matter whether the container is sealed, whether you even opened the bottle, or anything else.

Second, if you are driving, you cannot have an opened bottle of alcohol in your car.

So the first thing that has to happen is to modify the license law. If it were, you could walk home with your leftover but you still couldn't drive home. For that, the second law, about having an open bottle in your car, also has to be modified.

Interestingly, if I'm reading all this correctly, if you bring your own bottle to the restaurant AND walk home with the leftovers, that is OK under current DC law. Note, however, that it is against the law in DC to consume any alcoholic beverage in a public place, so you can't have a swig along the way, but I'm not aware that simply walking down the street with a resealed bottle in your possession constitutes consumption. Others more familiar with the laws may know better.

DC also has an 'open container' law. You can't have an open container anywhere in public-this includes your front yard, by the way. The only way to change the law is to get one of the powerful lobbying groups behind it. That's what happened when DC rolled back the cutoff time for selling beer and wine in grocery stores to 10PM from Midnight. Guess who benefited from that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DC also has an 'open container' law. You can't have an open container anywhere in public-this includes your front yard, by the way.

That's the same as the no public consumption I mentioned.

Note, however, that it is against the law in DC to consume any alcoholic beverage in a public place, so you can't have a swig along the way, but I'm not aware that simply walking down the street with a resealed bottle in your possession constitutes consumption.

If your container is open, it is presumed you are consuming. However, if your container is closed, I don't believe it falls under that. And yes, your front yard is considered a "public" place, even your porch. In DC, you may legally consume an alcoholic beverage only in two places--your home (inside the walls), or a licensed establishment, ie a bar or restaurant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's the same as the no public consumption I mentioned.

If your container is open, it is presumed you are consuming. However, if your container is closed, I don't believe it falls under that. And yes, your front yard is considered a "public" place, even your porch. In DC, you may legally consume an alcoholic beverage only in two places--your home (inside the walls), or a licensed establishment, ie a bar or restaurant.

Public consumption is drinking in public. An open container is deemed a danger in and of itself and consumption doesn't have to be proved for you to get busted.

My more 'important' point was that to change the law, there have to be some very powerful people who will benefit. Unless you can present it as a 'public health' issue a la smoking. Perhaps the Rest. Ass. would get involved if it meant their members would sell more wine? Or, of course, there's always the distributors. They have pretty deep pockets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Public consumption is drinking in public. An open container is deemed a danger in and of itself and consumption doesn't have to be proved for you to get busted.

Correct. My point was that if the container is not open you won't get busted. AFAIK, "not open" can apply to never opened or to re-closed, but I'm not sure about the latter and perhaps somebody who knows could chime in.

My more 'important' point was that to change the law, there have to be some very powerful people who will benefit. Unless you can present it as a 'public health' issue a la smoking. Perhaps the Rest. Ass. would get involved if it meant their members would sell more wine? Or, of course, there's always the distributors. They have pretty deep pockets.

If that's the case we can forget about getting the law changed. The distributors will never see this as an issue that would be big enough for them to spend their chips. Probably true as well of the Assn. The best way, IMO, is a grass roots appeal to the City Council, emphasizing that the current regs. are out of step with modernity and making the District look silly. They tend to respond to that.

Actually it's no longer my fight since I now live a long way from DC. But I do recall once, many many years ago, being followed out of a restaurant and shouted at by the owner when I carried out my half-drunk bottle of wine, wondering if the guy was nuts--now I understand his concern, even if his reaction may have been over the top.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have placed an order with Kongsgaard for a few bottles. I was just told they shipped via UPS, and told me to expect it in 7 to 10 days!

When I wrote to complain about it, this was the response:

"Due to local laws (DC permits only one bottle to be shipped directly to a consumer per month), we are forced to use the more time-consuming three-tier method to ship to your state. Orders are shipped via refrigerated truck to a local wholesaler, then a local retailer, and finally, via UPS, to you."

Can anyone else confirm this claim that DC only allows one bottle per month to be shipped directly to a consumer? It sure sounds ridiculous to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats the law here in wunnerful DC. To top that, if you bring in a bottle to a restaurant and they cork it for you, you are not allowed to remove the bottle from the restaurant. Your own wine! I had to stop two customers from taking their own wines home with them. Boy was that Viader 1994 good!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have placed an order with Kongsgaard for a few bottles. I was just told they shipped via UPS, and told me to expect it in 7 to 10 days!

When I wrote to complain about it, this was the response:

Due to local laws (DC permits only one bottle to be shipped directly to a consumer per month), we are forced to use the more time-consuming three-tier method to ship to your state. Orders are shipped via refrigerated truck to a local wholesaler, then a local retailer, and finally, via UPS, to you.

Can anyone else confirm this claim that DC only allows one bottle per month to be shipped directly to a consumer? It sure sounds ridiculous to me.

Preposterous but not at all unexpected. DC government thrives on changing all the rules every 6 months. Most recent example: The test for DC food handlers is valid for 5 years. The course and test for restaurants costs several thousand dollars to administer. The DC food handlers license, which requires this test, expires after 3 years. You can not use the still valid test certificate for the license renewal. Go figure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can anyone else confirm this claim that DC only allows one bottle per month to be shipped directly to a consumer? It sure sounds ridiculous to me.

This is technically true. But if you have a friend in Virginia, you can have your stuff shipped there in some volume....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is technically true. But if you have a friend in Virginia, you can have your stuff shipped there in some volume....

My understanding with VA is 2 cases per winery per month is the limit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...