Sunday, March 6, 2011

AB No. 1356 - Tasting Room Regulation

In a move to require Tasting Rooms to be treated more like bars and nightclubs, Assembly Member Mike Eng has proposed AB No. 1356. This bill is being sponsored by Santa Barbara County.  It will require that any application for an off-site tasting room be denied, if it would result in an undue concentration of licenses.

In fact, many tasting rooms are located in rural communities in and around the wine country.  As an example, Los Olivos contains more than 20 tasting rooms and has become known for its tasting room row on Grand Ave.  This group of tasting rooms would constitute an undue concentration, as we have only 800 people in this town.

If denied due to undue concentration of licenses, a Winery could request a finding of Public Convenience of Necessity (PCN) from the local governing jurisdiction.  This is the same procedure that bars and nightclubs go through now.  This proposed law would provide a powerful tool to communities that want to restrict the number of off-site tasting rooms that can open in the small communities through out wine country.

Link to the proposed law:

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