Wine on wheels? Mobile tasting rooms possible for Washington wineries, breweries
New legislation would allow breweries and wineries in Washington to serve beer and wine at all the same places you find food trucks.
Representative Kelly Chambers, a Republican representing Pierce County, said the bill would allow for microbreweries and wineries to apply for a special endorsement on their licenses to host mobile tasting rooms.
“I hope it helps small entrepreneurs build their brands and connect with the food industry,” Chambers said. “Great Washington wine goes with a lot of the great food and chefs we have around here.”
For just $50 dollars, the special endorsement on producer licenses would allow for each brewery or winery to host up to 12 public events each year.
At community events such as a car show, wineries and breweries could hold tastings and sell drinks by the glass or the bottle.
Chambers hopes chefs can pair with wineries and breweries to create more options for customers.
“A winery could take their mobile license on the road, lease a vendor booth for that event where they’re showcasing their wines, and then I see them working really closely with food vendors,” Chambers said.
Linn Scott is a winemaker for Sparkman Cellars in Woodinville, Washington.
“A pop up, temporary tasting room would be a terrific tool to go meet folks that want to drink wine but might not be able to afford or take the time to pay for a trip to wine country,” Scott said.
Scott is attending the Unified Grape and Wine Symposium in California and said mobile tasting rooms have become a hot topic at the event. While one Sonoma winery said it hosts 10,000 guests a year, it was able to reach 40,000 people by taking its wines on the road, Scott said.
“Anything that makes it easier to get out and introduce our wines to new folks is terrific and worth looking at,” Scott said. “This could be a fun new format that asks us to grow and be creative about how to share what we do in a new place.”
New legislation is sometimes met with caution. Although the organization does not take a position on alcohol sales to people who are 21 and older, Dennis Maughan, regional executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving for the Washington state office, said he would expect all vendors that sell alcohol to meet the same standards and regulations as a bar or a restaurant.
“We urge anyone who plans to consume alcohol – whether that occurs at a mobile tasting room or restaurant or bar – to always plan ahead for safe transportation and never drink and drive or get into a car with a driver who is impaired.”
Chambers said local governments would have a say in where mobile tasting rooms could set up shop.