WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

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WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:18 am

Wine to go?

You order an excellent wine to go with your restaurant meal, and when dinner is done, the bottle is half empty. Or half full, depending on your worldview. What do you do?

Common sense would dictate that you poke the cork back in the bottle and take it home to enjoy another day. But common sense, by and large, does not inform alcoholic-beverage-control laws. In most states of the U.S. and provinces of Canada, anyway, restaurants are generally not licensed for "package liquor" sales and, historically, have risked a fine or loss of their drinks license if they permit customers to carry out leftover wine.

In recent years, though, model legislation (usually pushed by the restaurant industry and wine distributors) has made its way through the law-making process in quite a few states, including New York and Massachusetts as well as a few more rural jurisdictions.

Kentucky's similar law won easy passage in March, with only nominal opposition from some lawmakers in "dry" regions. The law, as most of them do, requires that restaurant staff re-seal the bottle, place it in a container and provide a dated receipt. The consumer must keep the bottle in the trunk, a locked glove compartment or other place "inaccessible to the driver" during the quick trip home.

The changes have not gone without debate. Supporters argue that the new laws foster moderation because diners don't feel pressured to drink the whole bottle at the restaurant, then drive home. Opponents fret that drivers can all too easily defeat the system if they desire a quick swig - or several - for the road.

In Maryland, where a similar law just passed the legislature and awaits the governor's signature, a local newspaper found the expected range of opinions from cheers to jeers. Here's a link to the story in the Frederick (Md.) News-Post.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?
I'm guessing that most wine lovers would hail this notion as progressive and right, but what do I know? To find out, we've set up another of those fun and informal online polls on our Netscape WineLovers Community. Click here to vote.
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TAKING UNFINISHED WINE HOME

Postby RANDY S MITCHELL » Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:01 pm

FOR YEARS I'VE DISCREETLY PUT THE RECORKED BOTTLE INTO MY PANTS POCKET - NO MUSS NO FUSS.

WHEN THE OCCASION CALLED FOR A FINE WINE, THE EMPTY BOTTLE ALWAYS IS TAKEN HOME.
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Re: WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:07 pm

Greater awareness of risks of drunk driving makes taking remnants home very sensible at a social level. It's perfectly allowable in UK.

Personally I'm unlikely to take anything much less than half a bottle home, unless it's a particularly good bottle.
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Re: TAKING UNFINISHED WINE HOME

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:12 pm

RANDY S MITCHELL wrote:FOR YEARS I'VE DISCREETLY PUT THE RECORKED BOTTLE INTO MY PANTS POCKET - NO MUSS NO FUSS.

WHEN THE OCCASION CALLED FOR A FINE WINE, THE EMPTY BOTTLE ALWAYS IS TAKEN HOME.


Hey, guy, good to see you in our forum. I hope you'll pop up more often.

Frankly, I'm inclined to agree. It takes a large pants pocket to hold a 750ml bottle, but in practice, few restaurateurs are going to object if the customer quietly and discreetly slips away with the booty.

But that being said, legalization is not a bad idea. In theory at least, the restaurateur (absent a take-home law) is not relieved of his duty as a license-holder, so you put him in a real bind by insisting. And in the absence of such a law, if you're pulled over by the constabulary for any other reason with an open container within reach, you're boned.

So even though this law, like most laws, is easy enough to ignore, there's a certain risk. The new legislation cleans that up.
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Re: WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:13 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:Greater awareness of risks of drunk driving makes taking remnants home very sensible at a social level. It's perfectly allowable in UK.


I'm happy to see it happening here, Ian. Of course we can thank our Puritan heritage for an overall attitude that alcohol is sinful and must be tightly controlled.
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Re: WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:33 pm

New Jersey law is variously applied depending on the borough and in many respects by the insurer of the restaurant. The New Jersey law is permissive, but the restaurant owner has the final say.

In BYOB restaurants, taking home a partial bottle is fine, and as the designated driver in our family who never drinks and drives, the taking partial bottles home is a wonderful way to share wine and drive safely at the same time.

One cocktail party bit of legal advice: don't carry the wine home in the main cabin of your car or truck.

Put it in the trunk of the car or in the truck body.

In case of an accident, spilled wine in the cabin indicates to the EMTs and the police that the driver was drinking. Emergency care may be slower as the result for the driver, and the police may well ticket the driver -- even without the Breathalyzer test.

Just a little pro bono legal announcement, which is actually worth much more than you paid for it. :-)

Regards, Bob
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Re: WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:38 pm

Bob Ross wrote:The New Jersey law is permissive, but the restaurant owner has the final say.


That raises a very interesting point, Bob. I wonder if the laws in the various states require or merely permit restaurateurs to allow the practice, and if this is consistently or inconsistently applied. In other words, as a diner in a take-out state is denied permission to take the bottle as a matter of restaurant policy, what is his standing to object?

One cocktail party bit of legal advice: don't carry the wine home in the main cabin of your car or truck.


And good advice it is, even if it shouldn't have to be that way.
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Re: WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:16 pm

I've never studied the law, and what the legal situation is, frankly. The way it plays out in New Jersey is that the restauranteer has the absolute right to forbid any patron from taking wine out of their restaurant. Even if it belongs to the patron -- you sometimes hear the argument that the wine belongs to the patron, and he or she can do anything they want with it.

The problem is that the restaurant owner is at risk and should have the final say, in exactly the same way I believe I should have the final say with respect to a guest in my own house taking wine or other alcohol home.

Mileage will vary from person to person, I'm sure, so the foregoing is a personal opinion only.

"And good advice it is, even if it shouldn't have to be that way."

That's not really legal advice, just so the record is clear -- it's practical common sense, human advice. I'll bet most people in the shoes of an EMT or a cop who sees a driver covered with wine and smelling of alcohol will form a negative opinion of the driver involved in a serious accident.

It doesn't have to be that way Robin, it's just human nature to react to people based on first impressions, especially if other people are hurt or killed in the same accident.

Regards, Bob
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Re: WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:26 pm

Bob Ross wrote:It doesn't have to be that way Robin, it's just human nature to react to people based on first impressions, especially if other people are hurt or killed in the same accident.


I understand and agree, Bob. I'm just saying that it's unfortunate when human fallibility takes a toll on innocent victims - such as a sober person drenched in wine at an accident site. One would hope that professionals in service positions such as police and EMS would be trained to avoid jumping to conclusions, particularly when emergency care is at stake.
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Re: WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:34 pm

I think EMTs and cops are trained, although as you know, Robin, you never know what level of training you may encounter. There remains a belief among EMTers and cops I know (and among members of the genral public) that drivers who drink do cause some accidents.

I've ridden with my daughter when she's gone on EMT runs in what they call here an "observor" status -- someone who might be interested in joining the Corps. [My talents lie elsewhere, I've discovered.]

There's almost always some triage involved at accident sites. Decisions are made quickly based on what people see and smell and hear. In a perfect world, a driver reeking and drenched in alcohol might well go to the head of the triage pack. I wouldn't bet on it in real life.

And, in any event, keeping your booze out of the cabin of your car is a tiny bit of inconvenience, at the end of the day (or night, as the case may be).

Regards, Bob
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wine to go

Postby Ted Judd » Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:54 pm

Here in rural Idaho with it's ultra conservative legislature, we have wine to go legislation. You can recork a partial bottle and take it home, if, and here is the "protection", you place it in the trunk (if you have one) or behind the furthest rear seat if no trunk. Not accessible to the driver is the key.
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Maryland Chiming in

Postby James Roscoe » Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:44 pm

I hope this is signed soon. As one of the people in the article pointed out, wine is not the alcohol of choice for the abusers. Somehow I can't see some drunk from Dundalk driving his Chevy pick-up and drinking the renaining contents of his Yellow Tail shiraz, let alone real wine. My suspicion is that it'll be a six of Coors or some Jack in the car and they're doing it anyway. As a taxpayer of this state, I am glad they've done one thing right in Annapolis this session.
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Re: WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Paul Winalski » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:29 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Bob Ross wrote:The New Jersey law is permissive, but the restaurant owner has the final say.


That raises a very interesting point, Bob. I wonder if the laws in the various states require or merely permit restaurateurs to allow the practice, and if this is consistently or inconsistently applied. In other words, as a diner in a take-out state is denied permission to take the bottle as a matter of restaurant policy, what is his standing to object?


Is a restaurant required to offer you the option of a doggie bag to take uneaten food home? I don't think so. I would therefore expect that there is no legal requirement to allow unconsumed wine to be taken home, either.

BTW, does this apply only to wine? What if our table hasn't finished its pitcher of margaritas, or if I haven't finished my double martini?

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Wine To Go

Postby Tony Willett » Sat Apr 15, 2006 1:41 am

My dear spouse of some 34 years sometimes refers to me as a "tightarse", particularly when it comes to spending my hard-earned $$ on wine. Actually, a few years ago, my doctor confirmed her assessment, during a clinical diagnosis :oops: ; however I digress!!
In Australia, many restaurants are BYO or both BYO/purchase on site. So where possible I choose to dine where I can bring "bargins" from my modest cellar. In my 36 odd years of dining out in Aus I have never had a problem with being able to take home my left-over wine. I think I can safely say that the attitude in Aus restaurants is that since the client has paid for the wine, they are entitled to take it with them. As far as swigging from the bottle on the way home, I think that consumption of beer and mixed spirits from cans by young vehicle drivers and passengers, is a far bigger contributing factor to DUI. The issue of accidental spillage will become less of an issue as we move to screw caps over time.
Just as an aside, many Aus restaurants are not averse to packaging your left-over food to go, if you happen to have over-ordered, or the restaurant surprised you with a bigger than expected dish. You can also turn your pampered pooch into a gourmet diner if you bring home the remains if that delicious steak or even just the bone will keep them occupied for some time :twisted: !
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Re: WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:33 am

We've been allowed to take the leftover wine home for a few years now in California, with no restrictions as to where it goes in the car. I've heard no complaints from anyone on this.

And mine always goes in the trunk. Just seems safer all around that way.


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Re: Wine To Go

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Apr 15, 2006 8:40 am

Tony, thanks for posting! I'm glad this discussion drew you out of the woodwork.

Knowing that most of our readers in the rest of the world would find this an odd topic, I noted that most of these anti-carry laws are found in the US and Canada. As I've often pointed out to our many pals Down Under, you blokes had the good fortune to claim the convicts as ancestors; we had to take the Puritans ...
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Re: TAKING UNFINISHED WINE HOME

Postby Bob Henrick » Sat Apr 15, 2006 9:11 am

RANDY S MITCHELL wrote:FOR YEARS I'VE DISCREETLY PUT THE RECORKED BOTTLE INTO MY PANTS POCKET - NO MUSS NO FUSS.

WHEN THE OCCASION CALLED FOR A FINE WINE, THE EMPTY BOTTLE ALWAYS IS TAKEN HOME.


Hi Randy, welcome to the forum. this is one heck of a good place to to meet other wine lovers. Btw, would you please release the Caps Lock button on your keyboard? The all caps looks like shouting sounds. Again welcome.
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Re: Wine To Go

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:40 pm

Robin Garr wrote: you blokes had the good fortune to claim the convicts as ancestors; we had to take the Puritans ...


Robin, you've written this before, and I wonder each time how you explain the fact that 50,000 convicts were transported to the American colonies before the revolution. Ben Franklin protested mightily, the beauty of American women in the early 1800s was often ascribed to the beauty of their prostitute lineage, and Samuel Johnson has it: "I am willing to love all mankind, except an American." and "Sir, they are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging."

The Puritans were a large group who emigrated as the result of a major schism in the Church of England, were strong primarily in the Boston area where they remained -- while the rest of the US was settled by other groups.

Simple minded history, of course, but so is your generalization.

Why did the convicts prevail in Australia, and not in the States and Canada?

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Re: Wine To Go

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Apr 15, 2006 1:48 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Why did the convicts prevail in Australia, and not in the States and Canada?


Two answers, Bob.

(1) You are being way too literal. It's just a joke, man!

(2) Speaking generally, yes, but in fact, Australia was established entirely as a convict-transportation zone after that door in the American colonies closed after 1776. Meanwhile, the stern Puritan image is so deeply embedded in the whole Pilgrim/Plymouth Rock bit that it's a lasting meme. Of course we both had convicts, but it was central to Australia's history (and nowadays worn with some pride, I think). In US history it's largely a footnote now.
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Convicts

Postby James Roscoe » Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:03 pm

Bob and Robin,
Most of these convicts that the British sent to both America and Australia would not qualify by today's standards. They were often just debtors or other people at the bottom of middle class society for whom colonization was a convenient way to move them out of Britain. It was much easier to send some Irish independence rabble-rouser to Australia than to make a martyr out of him. The English then convinced most of these people that they were better off too. Of course, in most cases they were right and everyone profited. In the case of the American colonies, bad governmental policies and arrogance on the part of the English finally led the American colonials to seek independence. The English basically learned their lesson and governed their other colonies somewhat more efficiently and somewhat less arrogantly.
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Re: WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:43 pm

"You are being way too literal. It's just a joke, man!"

Of course it's a joke, and funny in its way.

But, there's no historical relationship between Pilgrims and Puritans, really. That meme is seriously flawed.

We wine geeks flog the Puritans incessantly. They get a really bad and unfair rap in my judgment.

We would do better to flog the Prohibitionist/Suffragist coalition, if we wanted to be true to our history.

In any event, I'll stop taking this stuff so seriously, I promise.

(Or, maybe not.)

Regards, Bob
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Wine to Go

Postby Marc Cohen » Sat Apr 15, 2006 10:51 pm

It's rare that there is anything left of a bottle of very good wine. However, if I have a half bottle or even more, I put a cork in in, call the wait staff over and give it to them for after work. Restaurant workers work long and hard and a little fine wine after work is appriciated. They may even remember you the next time you come in.
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Re: WineAdvisor/WLC Poll: Wine to go?

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Apr 15, 2006 11:34 pm

I'm with you, Mark. And, we often share a bit in advance. We often bring a couple of half bottles and pour a bit of each wine for the staff to share.

The point of wine is sharing, really.

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