"Merlot to Go" - Open Wine Bottle Take Home Laws by State
In the interest of public safety, many state governments have modified their wine laws since the early 2000s. The intent was to encourage responsible drinking, by allowing customers to take home unfinished bottles of wine from a restaurant - provided they follow some requirements that vary by state. These laws are often referred to as "Merlot to Go", "Cork and Carry", "Wine to Go", or "Wine Doggy Bag" laws. Whatever your want to call them, here's a guide to help you understand what's required by state.
VineyardFresh Helps Restaurants and Consumers
We appreciate these efforts, which are intended to give customers the opportunity to enjoy an appropriate amount of wine, while being encouraged to stop drinking at the proper time and taking the rest home. In particular, patrons get to enjoy many more options of wines to drink with their meal, as bottle inventories are always much broader than wine by the glass options. And, the restaurants benefit from being able to offer their patrons full bottles vs a single glass, increasing wine revenue and average tickets. The restaurant, the customer, and yes, VineyardFresh, all benefit from cork and carry laws!
In addition to having tamper proof wine bags available that adhere to state laws that require or recommend bags, using VineyardFresh wine preserver can preserve the fresh taste of the wine and assure the customer that the wine they're taking home will taste just as great as when it was first opened.
State-by-State Wine Take Home Laws
To learn what your state requires in order to take home an open bottle of wine, simply view the easy to read table below. For more detail, or to read your state's open bottle take home law, simply open the pdf for your state.
Key provisions typically include:
- Can you take open bottles of wine home? Almost universally the answer is now "yes"
- Does the bottle need to be recorked and/or in a tamper proof bag? Again, nearly universally, the answer is "yes". With most states requiring a tamper proof bag, and some recommending it. To be safe and protect everyone from liability, a tamper proof bag is a good idea regardless.
- Do you need to have had a meal, or a receipt, with you? It varies, but generally no. Check your state below to find out.
IMPORTANT: all state laws and rules are subject to change. Consult a lawyer or local wine industry association to confirm the most recent rules if there are any questions.
= Required by law.
= Recommended, but not required by law.
= Not required by law.
VineyardFresh is one of the original 100% Argon wine preservers - protecting wine since 1999. Start using VineyardFresh Wine Preserver to:
- Enjoy better tasting wine at home
- Serve better tasting wine on premise
- Increase your wine revenue at your restaurant, wine bar, country club
- Open whatever bottle of wine you want, when you want!