There are many wineries in Oregon that open their doors to the public only a few weekends each year, during special regional “open house” promotions.
For some, it’s a matter of choice. They have other ways of marketing their wares than selling it directly to the public.
For others, it’s a matter of size. They simply don’t produce enough wine to justify the expense of operating a tasting room, and sell most of their product to restaurants and/or club members.
That said, there also are winery owners in Oregon who would like to have tasting rooms that are open to the public on a regular basis. But until House Bill 3280 passed recently, there was no statute on the books guaranteeing them that right.
Now, however, the wine landscape there has changed, as this Wine Spectator report details.
Not only can virtually every bonded winery now operate a tasting room, but they also can host weddings, concerts and other special events (although on a somewhat limited basis).
Reaction to the new guidelines has been mixed. Some claim certain aspects of it (for instance, the ability to operate a full-service restaurant) favor the larger estates. Certain other aspects would still require local government approval.
We’ll have to wait and see how everything shakes out. At the very least, the new guidelines should make more wine more readily available to more people.
So if you’re a fan of Pinot Noir—which is Oregon’s top variety, by far1—this probably is very good news.
Care to comment? Your perspective is welcome in the comment box below.