SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Wine tasting could soon be legal at your local farmers market. The California Senate unanimously passed a bill to allow limited wine and cider tastings at Certified Farmers Markets with the approval of the market manager.
Some farmers markets do allow small wineries to sell by the bottle, but giving out tastings is illegal in the state at these events. This bill would change that. If approved by the market manager, only one winery on any given day could offer tastes at that farmers market. The tastings would occur in a cordened off area of the market. The winegrower would be limited to pour no more than three ounces of wine or cider per adult consumer.
The bill has generated some controversy. Most winemakers are in support of the bill because it would help them sell more wine. Other groups argue that alcohol has no place at a farmers market setting.
Under existing law, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control allows estate grown wine to be sold by the bottle at a Certified Farmers Market, but no tastings.
Currently, nine states have adopted laws approving wine tastings at farmers markets. The legislation going through Sacramento will next be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee.