"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

VineyardFresh Wine Bottle Take Home Bags - state compliant for "Merlot to Go" wine take home programs

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.

 

State Take Wine Home Bag with Seal Need Meal Need Receipt View Law Text
AL Alabama Merlot to Go Law
AK Alaska Merlot to Go Law
AZ Arizona Merlot to Go Law
AR Arkansas Merlot to Go Law
CA California Merlot to Go Law
CO Colorado Merlot to Go Law
CT Connecticut Merlot to Go Law
DE Delaware Merlot to Go Law
DC District of Columbia Merlot to Go Law
FL Florida Merlot to Go Law
GA Georgia Merlot to Go Law
HI Hawaii Merlot to Go Law
ID Idaho Merlot to Go Law
IL Illinois Merlot to Go Law
IN Indiana Merlot to Go Law
State Take Wine Home Bag with Seal Need Meal Need Receipt View Law Text
IA Iowa Merlot to Go Law
KS Kansas Merlot to Go Law
KY Kentucky Merlot to Go Law
LA Kentucky Merlot to Go Law
ME Maine Merlot to Go Law
MD Maryland Merlot to Go Law
MA Massachusetts Merlot to Go Law
MI Michigan Merlot to Go Law
MN Minnesota Merlot to Go Law
MS Mississippi Merlot to Go Law
MO Missouri Merlot to Go Law
MT Montana Merlot to Go Law
NE Nebraska Merlot to Go Law
NV Nevada Merlot to Go Law
NH New Hampshire Merlot to Go Law
NJ New Hampshire Merlot to Go Law
State Take Wine Home Bag with Seal Need Meal Need Receipt View Law Text
NM New Mexico Merlot to Go Law
NY New York Merlot to Go Law
NC North Carolina Merlot to Go Law
ND North Dakota Merlot to Go Law
OH Ohio Merlot to Go Law
OK Oklahoma Merlot to Go Law
OR Oregon Merlot to Go Law
PA Pennsylvania Merlot to Go Law
RI Rhode Island Merlot to Go Law
SC South Carolina Merlot to Go Law
SD South Dakota Merlot to Go Law
TN Tennessee Merlot to Go Law
TX Texas Merlot to Go Law
UT Utah Merlot to Go Law
VT Vermont Merlot to Go Law
VA Virginia Merlot to Go Law
WA Washington Merlot to Go Law
WV West Virginia Merlot to Go Law
WI Wisconsin Merlot to Go Law
WY Wyoming Merlot to Go Law

 

Click here to see laws for taking wine home for all 50 states plus District of Columbia.

50 States "Merlot to Go" Laws