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Md. Allows Restaurant-Goers To Bring Their Own Wine; Law Takes Effect Sunday

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– If you prefer wine with your dinner, a new law taking effect could enhance your dining experience.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains, it will also be a learning experience.

Open, pour, enjoy. Wining and dining goes B.Y.O.B.

For the first time in Maryland, you won’t necessarily be limited to the wine list in the restaurant. Starting this weekend, you can shop for your favorite and take it to the restaurant with you.

“A lot of restaurants don’t offer, they offer a very limited selection of wine you like to drink. So if you know what you like, you should be able to take it in,” Brian Trueax says.

Traci Anthony agrees.

“I think it’s a nice idea. We’ve been on trips before where we’ve been to vineyards to do wine tastings and have gone to places for dinner that allow you to bring in your own bottle,” she said.

Restaurants will need a permit from the local liquor board. Your wine cannot be something offered on the restaurant’s wine list. And the restaurant may charge you a corkage fee. You’re going to want to call ahead.

Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen in Fells Point has already set a policy.

“We’re going to allow each table to bring in either two 750ml bottles or one magnum. The first 750 ml is $35,” Pellegrino said. “We’re also going to waive the corkage fee if you buy a bottle of wine off our list. So if the table buys a bottle, we’ll waive the corkage fee for the bottle you brought.”

Each restaurant sets its own fee.

Adam Borden is president of Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws, which lobbied for the new law.

“I could go to a neighborhood place that might charge 5 or 10 dollars for corkage and I can just bring a bottle of wine from home and for that, it’s an additional meal out that’s supporting a Maryland restaurant,” he said.

The new law takes effect Sunday, July 1.

Washington, D.C. has allowed the practice for years. Virginia also legalized it last year.

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