Rare Rant,Wine

As a Maine-ah, I’m Weighing in on Maine’s Cockamamie Wine Tasting Law

I was born and raised in Maine, then I raised my own family on Allen Pond for 11 years, before I left for California while in my 40s. Given that history, I have a pretty good handle on what Maine’s all about.

I didn’t even want to write about this one, because I think it’s so absurd, but then my husband said, “What, you’re a Maine-ah!”

Most of Maine is rural, and it’s filled with wonderful people who just keep their noses to the grindstone. The seasons have more change than anything else, and seems to always be the latest news… Until just now.

After we had been out of Maine for a year, one of my daughters returned to visit a friend during the summer. I asked her, “Has anything changed?” She answered, “Yes, they painted the Dairy Joy.” That’s “change” in Maine.

Understanding that this culture was born on Puritanical roots might explain this latest brew-ha-ha that’s rocking the wine world with tons of questions marks… Like, “What???”

The latest news is about recent changes to Maine’s laws for retail merchants conducting wine tastings.

According to Chow Maine:

A last-minute amendment to a new wine-tasting bill requires that tastings be held where no children can see them. Maine wine shop owners are confused about how to comply with this change, and some may find that complying is impossible…. Under the new law, while shops can have up to three wine tastings in a single month, they are still limited to no more than 12 in a year, which includes any beer and hard liquor tastings. But this minor benefit is far outweighed by the negative effect of an amendment that was inserted by Representative Webster of Freeport near the end of the legislative process and that was included in the bill that passed. That amendment added the following provision to the wine tasting statute (as well as to the beer and hard liquor tasting laws): “Taste-testing activities must be conducted in a manner that precludes the possibility of observation by children.”

Oh, come on… Give me a break. Kids can’t see people sipping wine in a retail outlet?

Let’s see, what harm could that possibly cause?

  • The children will be so distressed that it will cause them to grow up to become alcoholics?
  • The children will swoon, pass out, and lose all bodily functions?
  • The children will forever be scarred by seeing a naked bottle?

Oh, good lord. If ever anyone asks me again if I miss Maine, or why I left Maine, I’ll cite this new law as being an emerging trend that drove me to drink… In California.

I’m sure Maine will say, we don’t miss her; however, two things remain as a result of my spearheading efforts:

  1. A community garden at the Veterans Memorial Bridge, on both the Lewiston and the Auburn sides.
  2. A scholarship for immigrants and refugees through the English as a Second Language program at the University of Southern Maine.

I did my part, and got out just in time, it seems.

Come on out here, you wine shop owners who are totally baffled by how you’re now supposed to conduct business. Anything west of Maine seems to be more progressive, and California is much closer to the source, plus this is a Mediterranean climate… No More Shoveling, unless you choose to live in Tahoe.

As Maine goes, so goes the nation? We’re all over that little saying. Maine is now going back in time, to a time of temperance, and the rest of us are not going to follow. What idiot wrote that one into the Bill?

A rare rant by Jo….

9 Responses to “As a Maine-ah, I’m Weighing in on Maine’s Cockamamie Wine Tasting Law”

  1. Hey Jo;

    That is a little ridiculous! And I thought the liquor laws were bad up here in Canada.

    I wouldn’t doubt if Representative Webster had a few bad experiences as a child watching his parents with alcohol! Next, you won’t be able play rock music, or dance in front of your kids in Maine… …might taint them.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Jo says:

    From my long-time friend in Maine, Del Levesque. Her comment was so funny, I asked permission to publish this, and she gave it to me:

    Del Levesque
    hey Jo……… so now at our ripe old age we must go back in time … carrying our wine and/or spirits in a paper bag ? AAAhh.. just like the good old days… back then it was to hide it from our folks …today we must hide it from our kids ! Go figure !

  3. George Parkinson says:

    as a California ex-patriot living in PA, I thought I had it bad! Wow, I guess that growing grapes and making wine at home may be teaching my kids how to be bootleggers; (they each have been present at crush since they were 4) Which, with this type of trend, could be a reality in 20+ years.

  4. bruce says:

    I am off to Portland next week. Should I smuggle in my own wine for fear of the “Maine-iacs” closing up all the merchants next? (-:
    Seriously though, I hope you are encouraging all your Maine-ahs to remember this on Election Day.
    Naples Wine News

  5. Jo says:


    We’re going to have to lock up your kids… (kidding)

    Wine is such a civilizing beverage, it just makes me cringe.

  6. Jo says:


    I like the smuggle thing. than, once it’s in, I’ll have someone from the Portland Press Herald meet you in baggage claim, where you can whip out your bottles from your over sized suitcase, and make your case, for the sake of all Maine-ahs who have yet to make a big deal out of this. Election say is just around the corner in November.

    Someone needs to start a petition, if anyone in Maine really cares, and we know wine shop owners do.

  7. Katie says:

    Bruce, just be careful you don’t BYOB to a restaurant with the expectation of paying a corkage fee. I am from California and was in Maine last week and did just this, only to be was scolded by the manager that it is illegal in Maine to bring your own wine to a restaurant. Apparently my server did not know this law either, because she kindly opened my bottle of Henriot Blanc and even brought me an ice bucket!

  8. Jo says:

    Katie, The further away from the source, the less understanding exists.

    That must have totally dashed your spirit and experience!

  9. Jo says:


    Sorry your comment got lost in the shuffle.

    I agree that this is the height of ridiculousness. I didn’t name names (Representative Webster), but I do agree that somebody (Webster) had a bad experience along the way. Perhaps this person (Webster) should review his ulterior motive, and why such a Puritanical decision (Webster) was even brought into play (never left the state to see how others handle themselves without slovenliness).

    Silly, and I don’t publicly take off on too many people (Webster).

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