Say you’re having a fancy evening out on the town, and when it comes to what to drink with dinner, you’d rather you had that special bottle that’s been sitting in your wine rack at home instead of anything on the restaurant’s overpriced list. In Maryland, that hasn’t been an option until now.
Patrons at Maryland restaurants that hold liquor licenses may soon be able to bring their own private wine reserves, with the state’s General Assembly set to pass a corkage law as soon as today, the Examiner reports.
The state senate and house of delegates both recently passed bills allowing diners to bring wine from home into a restaurant, bar or hotel. When made official, the law could offer diners significant savings on alcohol purchases. Instead of the high markups on wine in many establishments, patrons would instead pay a small fee to enjoy something they’ve already purchased.
Not surprisingly, the liquor industry was opposed to the corkage bill. But the restaurant industry changed its tune from last year, when it joined alcohol producers and distributors in opposing the notion of diners bringing in their own bottles of wine and helping defeat a bill that would have set corkage rates between $5 and $25. This year, the Maryland Restaurant Association said it would sit out another fight over the law.
And it was probably the right move. The corkage law will put Maryland on equal footing with the District, where many high-end restaurants permit diners to bring in their own bottles of wine for a small cost, and Virginia, which passed a similar law last year.