Wine to Go

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Wine to Go

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:02 pm

So Lill and I were in a local restaurant the other night and after having a martini (Tanqueray Ten w/olives) each, we didnt want to push things by finishing our bottle of wine with dinner.

It was a nice surprise to see the 2004 Perrin Reserve CdR in a screwcap, by the way.

Knowing that MA recently passed a Take the Wine home law (tagged on to the very restrictive wine shipping bill), I asked about bringing the half finished bottle home with us.

Our waitress quickly replied "A new law has been passed so we can now package up your wine to go". She returned in a few minutes with our wine bottle in a sealed baggie with the receipt attached and off we went.
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:21 pm

I meant to post this change in the "carry law", Bill. Just for the record, it reads in part:

These emergency regulations require that the “restaurant” or “hotel” type license holder or its employees must:

1.securely reseal the bottle of wine;

2.place the resealed bottle in a one-time-use tamper-proof transparent bag that insures that the patron cannot gain access to the bottle while in transit after the bag is sealed;

3.securely seal the bag;

4.issue to the patron a receipt that prominently displays the date of the purchase, as well as both the purchase of the meal and the purchase of the bottle of wine;

5.affix the receipt to the sealed bag; and

6.allow only 1 bottle of wine per patron to be carried out.
The regulation applies state wide and was signed by the Commissioner on March 2, 2006. It's great to see that restaurants are so fast off the mark.

Well done indeed. Regards, Bob
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Apr 28, 2006 6:22 pm

Bob Ross wrote:I meant to post this change in the "carry law", Bill.


Is that from New Jersey or Massachusetts, Bob? Whichever, it certainly has the stench of bureaucrats going well beyond legislative intent.
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Apr 28, 2006 6:32 pm

Massachusetts, Robin. What legislation are you talking about? Regards, Bob
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:19 pm

Bob Ross wrote:What legislation are you talking about?


Errr ... the carry-out law, Bob. ;-)

I'm assuming (although admittedly without having read the statute) that this detailed and very strict regulation, including the one-bottle limit, is based on, but substantially extended from, the bill that the legislature passed and the governor signed.

That's the way things work, of course: Administrative regulation is grounded on the statute. But it's interesting to observe how often alcoholic-beverage regulation seems to result in a much more detailed and stringent result than the legislators realized they were voting to achieve.
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Dale Williams » Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:31 pm

Robin,
while I love ragging on bureaucrats as much as anyone, this seems like a reasonal set of regulations to address the concerns that opponents raised against these new laws. Hardly onerous- putting it in a bag and attaching receipt. Eliminates chances of drinking drivers just claiming that the open bottle came from a restaurant. As to the one bottle limit, I can live with it. I guess it's possible that Betsy and I might go to a restaurant and have a white and a red, and want to carry half or more of each home, but it's still a big step up from previous rules.

While I'm scarcely a neo-prohibitionists, when arguing for laws that benefit us as wine enthusiasts it's important not to ignore the real dangers of alcohol. Compromise isn't a bad word.
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:35 pm

The amendment reads as follows: it includes the one bottle limit, and clearly means that part of the bottle must have been consumed on premises:

"SECTION 3. Section 12 of said chapter 138, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "writing", in line 14, the following words:- ; and provided further, that the limitations relative to service and consumption in a restaurant or hotel only in the dining rooms and such other public rooms or areas deemed reasonable and proper by the local licensing authority shall not be deemed to preclude the restaurant or hotel from allowing a patron to retain and take off the premises only so much as may remain of a bottled wine purchased by the patron in conjunction with a meal and not totally consumed by the patron during such meal; provided further, that the bottle shall be resealed in accordance with regulations promulgated by the commission."

http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/seslaw06/sl060033.htm

The regs seem pretty close to what the law intented, Robin. And after all the bureaucrats are closer to the action. The Commission held a number of hearings on implementation in Massachusetts; many of the restaurants weren't sure how it should be implemented. I've read that the bags cost $.40 or so, and some restaurants are informing patrons of the change in law.

Bill said he raised it with the restaurant if I remember well. I'm glad he did, and hope other wine lovers in Massachusetts will as well.

BTW, I see some folks in Massachusetts call this the "Cork and Carry" law; it's always nice to see a new name creep into the wine lexicon. :-)

Regards, Bob
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:41 pm

Dale, I would read this reg to mean both you and Betsy could take a partially consumed bottle home. You might have to split the check, but it says "a patron" can Cork and Carry.

Regards, Bob

PS: Thanks for letting me practice use that new phrase in my wine lexicon. B.
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:32 pm

This "Cork and Carry" is the one part of the recently passed set of wine regulations that I feel good about. It was really nice to know we could bring a bottle home.
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:40 pm

Bill, did I read your post correctly, though. That you raised the question, not the waitstaff?

Some of the reports I've read are that some restaurants aren't eager for Cork and Carry because of residual liability concerns. I know that in some of the committee discussions there was an effort to absolve the restaurants of liability arising from Cork and Carry wine.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:00 pm

Bob Ross wrote:The regs seem pretty close to what the law intented, Robin.


Well done, Bob! It's interesting that the legislation passed with that much specificity, and it would be interesting to know the story (and the forces) behind the amendment.

Bottom line, I continue in my libertarian preference for keeping laws simple and enforcing them with common sense: Treat drunken drivers strictly when they offend, but don't waste time and money on draconian efforts to keep people from consuming alcohol for fear that they might become drunken drivers. But in this case, I charged the bureaucrats unfairly for something that happened before the law got to their desk.
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:37 am

Bob Ross wrote:Bill, did I read your post correctly, though. That you raised the question, not the waitstaff?

Yup, I asked the waitress and she eagerly took up my request.
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Apr 29, 2006 12:10 pm

Might be an interesting article here, Robin. I didn't check the legislative history but note that the bill was passed by both houses over a letter opposing the bill by the Governor. Maybe one of the Boston contingent could educate us.

The company that makes the bags in question, Wine Doggy Bags, Inc. at http://www.winedoggybag.com/ reports sales surged after the Massachusetts law was enacted. The president says Cork and Carry is permitted in 40 US states, with 15 requiring the use of a bag of this sort.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Apr 29, 2006 12:50 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Might be an interesting article here, Robin.


I touched on the broader topic of the widespread move to "cork'n'carry" in this recent article, Bob, and probably won't return to it for this point. It would be a great alcohol-politics article for someone, though, tracing the forces for and against it and the competing interests that have to be resolved. It's interesting that it passed so quickly in so many states, including some (like Kentucky) that generally need some incentive to pass bills regarded as "pro-alcohol." It was generally done without a lot of notice, too. Either it's a massive coincidence, or else a very sophisticated strategic plan by ... whom? The funny thing is that there doesn't seem to be a lot of money in it, but it's certainly arguable that both restaurateurs and the wine distribution/retail chain benefit from it.

I didn't check the legislative history but note that the bill was passed by both houses over a letter opposing the bill by the Governor.


Which raises similar questions for our unknown investigative reporter: Who's on the other side? MADD Mothers would be likely to knee-jerk against it, and anti-alcohol forces in general. But what caught the guv's attention? Mitt Romney is a Mormon, but I don't have the impression that he's the kind of social conservative who bases policy on religion.

The company that makes the bags in question, Wine Doggy Bags, Inc. at http://www.winedoggybag.com/ reports sales surged after the Massachusetts law was enacted. The president says Cork and Carry is permitted in 40 US states, with 15 requiring the use of a bag of this sort.


Interesting link, Bob. Maybe I'll do another article after all, but I don't quite have a grasp on the angle I'd want to take.
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Apr 29, 2006 2:08 pm

I liked the picture of the bag, Robin. And being able to buy the bags for my own use. As you know, I like offlines, and there are often wines folks would like to take home. Could be useful.

I've found the Massachusetts story very confusing, with Romney vetoing the small farmer bill, and then this bill being signed by Romney.

One interest at stake here is probably holders of liquor licenses, who may be concerned that Cork and Carry laws can be abused, reducing their own sales and increasing restaurant sales of wine.

Interesting, puzzling, maybe someone in the Commonwealth can sort it all out.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Wine to Go

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Sat Apr 29, 2006 4:38 pm

Here is what I understand regarding the Cork and Carry Bill.

You need to understand that it was tied as an amendment to the Wine Shipping bill. Gov. Romney, along with a handful of Republicans and a few lone Dems (like my legislature, Rep David Torrisi), opposed the WS bill as written and passed by Congress simply because the bill gives very limited consumer options and most decidedly favors the Wholesale Lobby. As we discussed in another thread, wine can now be directed shipped to MA residents only if the winemaker produces less than 30,000 gal/year total volume of all wines made and has had none of their wines handled by MA distributors in the past 6 months. Congress passed this law, the Gov veto'd, Congress over-rode.

The Cork and Carry was attached to the WS bill and was not the reason for Romney's override. As far as I know, Romney and others that opposed the WS bill are indeed in favor of Cork and Carry.
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