The Definition of Taste

What is "a taste" of wine?

This is the issue that the Director of the Alcohol Beverage Control office of the State of California is clearing up.

In a memo from the Directors office to it’s division and branch offices, the Director has made clear that

"Since the Legislature has
determined that a 1 ounce serving is sufficient and reasonable to acquaint a
consumer with the qualities and characteristics of wine in an on-sale environment,
it is reasonable to conclude that the same size taste is appropriate for a
winegrower offering tastes of its wines in a wine tasting. As such, the
Department has determined that a single “taste” which may be given away or sold
as part of a “tasting” by a winery under its Type 02 license should be
approximately 1 ounce."

One ounce!

I can live with that. Most tasting rooms pour somewhere between that and three ounces. However, it’s unlikely that many of the sparkling wine houses will have a more difficult time living with this definition. At many sparkling wine facilities one pays, say, $5, and they give you a glass of sparkling wine….far more than one ounce. Then they send you out on the veranda to appreciate the view of the vineyards and sip your sparkling wine. Limiting this tasting to a one ounce pour is going to seriously diminish the experience.

It will be interesting to see if this new interpretation of the statues on the books will be enforced. I can see it now, an ABC agent comes into a tasting room, takes a pour from the person behind the bar, takes out their beaker and measures. 2.5 Ounces!! That’s a fine!!!

Again, I don’t think too many wineries will have a difficult time staying close to this requirement. But others will.

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