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Does anyone here host wine tastings or bar tend?

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Does anyone here host wine tastings? As in hosting a tasting at a big event? For example, a few years back I attended a benefit in DC and as part of the night's festivities there was a room where two gentlemen were hosting a 'Wines of the New WOrld' half hour seminar. Another room had a chocolate tasting and yet another a foie gras tasting.

I'm interested in what type of licensing you needed to do this.

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  1. License? We don' need no stinkin' license!

    I've done a number of wine tastings both for private groups and open to the public for a fee, and never thought about getting a license. But, I suspect you may be right to believe that some sort of license may be necessary, and I'll bet I was flaunting the law, a thought that brings me immense satisfaction. It's likely also something that varies by state and maybe even by municipality. I'll be interested to see what those who really know have to say.

    2 Replies
    1. re: FlyFish

      My sister recently had a large party in a rented hall, and had to obtain a license to serve alcohol there. And, there were all sorts of conditions to it, signs she had to put up, etc. There was a recent fracas in the Hamptons when an art gallery owner was hauled off by the police (more for mouthing off at them than anything else, I suspect) from her gallery where she was having an opening and serving wine without a license.

      1. re: MMRuth

        Our office has to get a license to serve alcohol at our in-office Christmas party. Each state is different, though, and Washington seems to be more restrictive about alcohol than most.

    2. A lot of wine tastings are done by wine purveyors. Depending on the size that you want to do, you might want to contact a local chef-driven restaurant. They may have a Sommelier or wine chef that would do it for you. If you are going to do a commercial venture or open it to the public, you will need a permit or license. If you are doing it in your home for guests, don't sweat it.

      1. Depending on which US state you're in the law on this can vary. Check the website of your local Alcohol Beverage Control Board (or whatever it's called where you are). In many locales you can get a day permit to do tastings but, in many states, the selling of wine (even at a charity event) is something that requires special permits and/or licensing. In California, for example a licensed retailer can do tastings away from their store site, but (unless under the auspices of a special permit) the wine must be paid for in advance by the group holding the event (in the case of charities it's donated) and no wine can be sold for delivery at the event (only orders may be taken for later delivery). Bottom line is that it can be rather complicated depending on where you are and public events aren't something you want to get into without checking out the rules.

        1. DC,MD,&VA are very!!!! different on this.Yes I am trade,an independent consultant.I do
          have some licensing for re-use and alcohol.
          If you remain informal with a rotating theme,pot-luck not for profit pricing policy you will
          get by ok.Think rotating dinner party,presto change to wine party.All is well until someone has an incedent after only alcohol service,w/o a license and $$ changes hands.
          How attentive do you want to be?How large a group?How many ounces per person,
          in what length of time.
          If a license,think low end,maybe catering w/o commisary.Share a license co-op.Their
          are quite a few around DC.