Earlier in the session Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City had proposed a bill that would have allowed wine brokers to offer samples of their products to high-end restaurants to help them in deciding their list. The committee at that time, savored, swished and spit the bill back at Romero. But with changes the bill cleared a panel Wednesday night.
Senate Bill 119 after being blocked at a previous committee cleared the Senate Judiciary and Law Enforcement Committee, after Romero added language that establishes reporting protocols for wine brokers who offer samples to report to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Romero proposed the legislation saying that restaurants developing a wine list can’t sample wines without buying entire bottles. His legislation aims to allow wine brokers the ability to offer samples to businesses, without buying them first, to help profit margins of Utah restaurateurs.
Earlier concerns had it that the sampling might be prone to abuse, but Romero argued with the new oversight those problems were addressed.
Under the new language to his bill, the wine broker has to have samples approved by the DABC. The samples are limited in size and have to be labeled as samples. The bill also specified that the sampling wouldn’t take place at restaurants, but only at the DABC store, packaging agency or at a trade show. While Sen. Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville worried about the number of trade shows allowed and if they would promote consumption, Romero argued that wine sampling does not lend itself to abuse, since wine samples are not swallowed.
“This is not about consumption because wine samples cannot be swallowed,” Romero said. “It’s about providing restaurants and high-end businesses that offer wine the ability to sample them before purchasing.”
The committee agreed and passed out the bill favorably by a unanimous vote.
If you want to find out who your legislator is so you can contact them about this bill click here.To contact SB 119 sponsor Sen. Ross Romero, click here. For more updates from the 2012 Legislature follow @EricSPeterson on Twitter.