One would permit 'corkage.'
Bills that would benefit Maryland wineries have been introduced in the 2012 General Assembly Session.
One measure sponsored by Frederick County State Senator Ron Young (D) would allow "corkage," where restaurant patrons can bring in their own bottle of wine to enjoy with a meal, if that wine is not on the establishment's wine list. Under the legislation, restaurants could charge a fee to open the bottle. Senator Young says there has been a demand for this service. "And we've had some restaurants like Volt, who would like to have it," he says. "And it's optional. You don't have to do it if you don't want to."
"Corkage" has been proposed in the past, but it ran into opposition from the restaurateurs. Senator Young thinks his bill will answer some of their concerns.
Another piece of legislation introduced by Senator Young would provide income tax credits for wineries and vineyards for qualified expenditures. He says some examples include the costs incurred from opening of new wineries, or expanding an existing operations. "We have really fallen behind Virginia and Pennsylvania in wineries," he says. Young hopes this bill will make up for that shortfall. "It's, in a way, another form of agriculture. It's also protecting land where vineyards are established. It's makes us more competitive with our neighboring states," says Senator Young.
A third bill would add another member to the Governor's Advisory Commission on Maryland Wine and Grape Growing. That person would be selected from the State Office of Tourism Development. Young says this is important because many wineries not only sell wine, but have wine festivals, wine trails and other attractions to bring in tourists.