You may be asking, what are "recorking" or "Merlot to Go" laws and why do they exist? Recorking, also often referred to as Merlot to Go, are laws that allow restaurants - following proper procedures - to allow a patron to take home an open bottle of wine. By following correct procedures, the open bottle of wine would not be considered an open container.
"Merlot to Go" laws can vary on a state by state basis. The specific requirements and procedures can be different in each state (click our state laws link for the specifics, relevant to your state).
Using a properly designed and state law compliant "Merlot to Go" wine bag is mandatory in many states. In other states, a compliant bag is highly recommended to offer both the restaurant and the patron a greater level of security.
Beginning in the early to mid 2000’s, wine take home laws became more and more established in different states. There were two main reasons for the growth in these laws:
As an example, here is an example (this happens to be using Florida law).
Florida Statute 564.09 states that a restaurant licensed to sell wine may permit a patron to remove one unsealed bottle of wine provided the following conditions are met:
We’ll get more detailed, in separate blog posts, on the values to consumers and/or restaurants, however right "up front" there are a few immediately evident advantages.
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