Gov. Jerry Brown signs off on wine tastings at farmers markets

A new state law permits wine tastings at farmers markets.
A new state law permits wine tastings at farmers markets.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Skip the peaches and cheese, farmers market guests can now sample wine at farmers markets all over California.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a measure into law Tuesday that allows farmers markets to conduct wine and cider tastings. The bill, AB2488, was approved by the Assembly and the Senate of California unanimously. Wineries and cidermakers can apply immediately for a permit through the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The wine and ciders must be produced from fruit grown and bottled by the winery and the tastings must be done by the permit holder, a family member or an employee. Also, wine sellers may not sell more than 5,000 gallons of wine annually and may not serve an individual customer more than 3 ounces a day. These provisions are in place to keep the tastings responsible and controlled.

The bill states that each farmers market has to approve these “instructional tasting events” and the market must rope off the tasting areas.

Cynthia Korman, the manager at the Ojai Farmers Market, seemed thrilled about the prospect of wine tasting at her market.


“We could never get wineries to come to our market because we couldn’t have wine tasting,” Korman said. “Now I can finally call some to come over.”

Laura Avery, supervisor at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, however, was not as enthused.

“I wonder why this bill got through when the rest of the industry is awaiting passage of an important bill, AB 1871?” Avery said, “It’s supported by a majority of SoCal farmers markets and would increase funding for farmers market enforcement.”

Avery also mentioned that the Santa Monica Farmers Markets would research zoning permits, licensing, insurance and other issues before considering wine tasting at farmers markets. She doesn’t foresee Santa Monica going forward with it.

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