Good Morning Gentle Readers,
On a quintessentially lazy-warm spring morning here in the Southland, TWC and The Boy piled into Milton's Winemobile, with the intent of sampling the latest offerings to come out of the Temecula Valley wine country.
It's unusual to find Cabernet Franc as a stand alone wine. Even less expected in Temecula, but Oak Mountain Winery served up a tantalizing, intriguing, and delicious Cabernet Franc. Consequently, it was my first, second, and third taste. I didn't even get bellied up to the wine bar for pour number four (that rhymes) before she flashed me a shy smile.....
Had the proprietor* or I been aware of a welcome change in the law, we could have saved a lot of trouble. Just gimme a glass of that there Cabernet Franc, Ma'am. Thankee.
As of January 1, 2009, California wineries may sell wine by the glass for consumption on the winery premises or in the winery picnic areas. In addition, consumers may also purchase bottles of wine for consumption on the premises of the winery, including the picnic areas.
Ran into that again at Renzoni. The Old Vine Zinfandel was muy bueno and, if memory serves, was sourced from one of the few remaining vineyards that once blanketed the stony alluvial plains of Cucamonga.
Yep, Cucamonga isn't just Jack Benny schtick, it's a real place, 'cept it's Rancho Cucamonga now.
How the new wine-by-the-glass law will flesh out remains to be seen. The public is simply unaware of the extent of government micro-managed minutiae that business owners contend with, particularly if it is remotely connected to alcohol.
In this instance, it isn't just a simple matter of pouring a glass of wine. If the picnic area isn't mapped on the application for the ABC license, than the winery must apply for a modification, which is almost as tedious as getting the license in the first place.
Additionally, in many areas, adding a picnic area means dealing with the city or county and is just as exhausting as adding a structure. How many cars? What about parking? Number of visitors expected per day? Accessibility requirements? Bathroom facilities? The local health department also may come into play because in many jurisdictions, wine served by the glass is considered to be food service and requires a whole new license and inspection process.
It has always struck me as bordering on the absurd that one couldn't purchase a glass of wine at a tasting room. Given that there was little opposition to the law change, I'm hoping that cavalier attitude may filter down to the localities resulting in the simple pleasure of enjoying a glass of Cabernet Franc at the winery.
Can't see the video? Look here. Come on, it's only 34 seconds.
*the proprietor may well be aware of the law, TWC hasn't asked.
Cucamonga Beauty image appears courtesy of Rhoda Stewart, author of A Zinfandel Odyssey.