Wineries in the Mudgree region of Australia are expected to start charging for tasting of expensive wines following an overhaul of New South Wales’ liquor licensing laws.
The changes announced by the New South Wales government will also allow wine to be sold at approved wine shows and farmers’ markets.
Also, smaller bars in Sydney will be able to serve alcohol without food.
The president of the NSW Wine Industry Association, David Lowe, says charges for tasting will be introduced gradually, starting with rare and expensive wines.
“We will do it slowly,” Lowe says. “I think it’s a cost recovery; we don’t want to alarm people. Tasting is a very important part of a winery visit – it’s an individual right of people to look at each of the wines and determine which ones they like.
“We don’t like to see wine being abused,” he adds. “On the other hand, we’d expect that (by charging a fee to taste their most expensive wines), wineries will probably recover the cost of the wine samples they give out for free.”
Lowe, who also is president of the Mudgee Wine Grape Growers Association, says the changes will help local wineries to better market their products. The new procedures will bring the 16 wine regions in NSW into line with other Australian states.