Sunday, February 21, 2010

Los Olivos Tasting Rooms

There is an apparent uproar in my little hamlet about the number of wine tasting rooms. From a purely selfish point of view, I do wish there was a greater variety of retail stores in our town. However, as a frequenter of tasting rooms both here and many other wine regions, I am baffled by the primary arguments against tasting rooms. (Full disclosure, I make my living working for many of these tasting rooms.)

First, I have never noticed underage or even very many younger tasters in these rooms. Generally, the cost of tastes and the wines do not attract a crowd of rowdy underage or even college age drinkers. Second, I have found that most of my friends take care to arrange for driving when they go wine tasting, as most of us intend to drink wine. This is as opposed to many other social interactions when people will often fail to plan for sober driving.

Thus, I understand the frustration with having so many tasting rooms in our town. However, I do not understand the arguments against them, other than a mere inconvenience. Further, I am supremely suspicious of anyone who believes that the answer to this situation is government regulation.

One more thing that I want to point out. Without the tasting rooms pulling in lots of tourists, I think we all need to admit that the number of alternative retail would actually decrease. Frankly, the small number of locals can not even support the variety of retail that we have now. This is shown by the repeated failure of other retail stores that make the mistake of relying upon locals for the support of their business.(I for one, am sorry to see them go and apologize to those that I have failed to support. Particularly, Judith Hale.)

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