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Feb 27, 2011 08:29 PM

Whole Foods wines in Maryland?

I'm in Silver Spring. Where's the nearest Whole Foods that sells wine? Do I have to go to DC or Virginia?

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  1. I'm almost positive that MD state law prohibits any Whole Foods from selling wine. But if you try the Whole Foods in downtown Baltimore's Harbor East neighborhood, there's a very good store called Bin 604 right nearby.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bordeauxfan

      I think it is Montgomery County's law, not Maryland. Isn't it the case that one store in a chain can sell wine? Maybe that isn't true anymore.

      1. re: Linda513

        You have it correct, it is Monkey County law that limits the sale to one store in a chain. I'm not sure which (if any) Whole Foods in MoCo sells wine, but who'd want to drink the stuff that they sell. You are better off going to a decent wine shop in DC where the selection of inexpensive wines is better.

        If you are looking for a good selection of sustainable/organic/etc. wines in MoCo, then try MOM's or Roots for a selection. Both have wine of that type and a much better selection than Whole Foods.

    2. There are a few grocery stores in MoCo that sell wine - I guess they must have been grandfathered. One that comes to mind (depending on where in the huge area known as Silver Spring you are) is the Chevy Chase Supermarket at the intersection of Connecticut and Manor Road (you actually have to make the left onto Manor Road). But assuming you are in close-in Silver Spring, then why not go across the DC line where you will find much better wine selections.

      BTW, the law in MoCo doesn't prohibit Whole Foods or other grocery stores from selling wine and beer. It is that our government cares about us and our well-being so much that they chose to control all distribution of alcohol:

      Oddly enough, they allow some retail sales. For instance, delicatessens can sell wine. Which is why the Parkway Deli on Grubb Road can sell wine.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Just Visiting

        Actually, I believe the law limits the sale to one retail establishment per chain in the county. Since Parkway Deli does not have more than one location in the county, it is able to sell wine. Same with Roots. Safeway and Giant however, may only sell wine at one store of the many in the county. I think (I haven't been there in many years) the Giant in White Oak used to sell wine as the only Giant in the county to be able to do so.

        Parkway Deli
        7250 Parkway Dr Ste 110, Hanover, MD 21076

        1. re: Just Visiting

          From what i know, those grocery stores in MoCo that sells wine and beer were grandfathered in. there are broad state laws in MD, but mostly each county controls the liquor and regulations.

          So you probably shouldn't hold out hope that any Whole Foods, at least in MoCo, will be stocking wine. MoCo has horrible liquor laws.

        2. It's Maryland law, not Montgomery County. The few stores that sell wine and beer were grandfathered in; there's no "one store per chain" rule - that's an old wive's tale. Whole Foods did not have any stores in the state when the law was passed.

          Plus, by October the cost of alcohol in this county is going to skyrocket with the new sin tax they're passing; you're best going to VA or DC then anyways.

          10 Replies
          1. re: reiflame

            I believe Maryland law only allows one license per person (a corporation under the law = a person).

            1. re: skipper

              No. From Montgomery County's website:

              Q. Why can’t I purchase beer and wine in my grocery store?

              Maryland State law prohibits this. Four Montgomery County grocery stores sell beer and wine today because they were licensed before the law changed.

            2. re: reiflame

              So all that stuff on the MoCo website is just....what?....mere suggestion?

              Here's the Maryland Code online:

              Look at Article 2B. Alcoholic beverages.

              Nothing in there about "one store in a chain" - that is indeed a myth. And if you read the state law, it gives the licensing authority to the counties.

              (Yes, Mom, this is what I am doing with that expensive law school education...)

              1. re: Just Visiting

                Are you agreeing with me? I'm not sure what you're saying.

                1. re: reiflame

                  Sorry - what I was saying was that if you read the statute, it is clear that the state legislature simply incorporated what MoCo wanted (indeed, that is true of the sections pertaining to each county). There is no rational reason for a state statute to have varying provisions for the different counties except that the counties wanted to be shielded from litigation based on the assertion that the state hadn't given them the authority to do these ridiculous things. So if you read the MoCo provisions (9.102.1) you will see not only rules specific to MoCo, but even specific to various political subdivisions of MoCo (Gaithersburg, City of Rockville, etc.).

                  So now, if MoCo wants to change this, it would have to get the legislature to do it instead of changing it themselves.

                  Wonderful. Glad I live near the District line and the bridges into VA.

                  1. re: Just Visiting

                    Well, MoCo also wants to keep its monopoly system on the sale and distribution of alcohol. While there are states that operate this way, MoCo is the only county in the country that has this system. IMO, it is broken and corrupt, but MoCo would fight to the death to keep it.

                    And i think perhaps the the one store for a chain may have been true before the law change (so the Shoppers on Great Seneca, which is one of the grandfathered stores)? if not, i suppose that people are getting it b/c other states do have this law, e.g., Colorado.

                    where are things with changing the law in MD allowing shipping of wine into MD? That at least would be a tiny change for good.

                    1. re: lalajane

                      The bill has been proposed to allow direct shipments from wineries directly, but not from retailers (like etc). It's crap but it's better than nothing.

                      1. re: lalajane

                        I stand corrected, but I wonder then how the Roots on Georgia Ave is permitted to sell wine since it was build only a couple of years ago.

                        1. re: dinwiddie

                          Was there another grocery store there before with a liquor license? I think they're transferrable.

                      2. re: Just Visiting

                        Or you can just bride a MD Senator like Shoppers Food Warehouse did in College Park