That’s the argument being made by some in the wine industry according to an article today on Decanter.com. Here’s the key excerpt:
Wineries are grappling with visits too often ending up in drunken excess, according to winery reps from New York to California.
‘It is a really centred around limousines and buses, with a lot of people thinking [as they are not driving] they can drink as much as they want,’ said Ray Falkner, president of the Temecula Valley Wine Association, based in southern California.
‘They are not a hazard on the road, but they are a hazard in the winery Ã¢â‚¬â€œ they are very boisterous, rude, obnoxious and disruptive. If you have an entire bus load or limo group, it hurts the entire tasting experience for other guests,’ Falkner told decanter.com.
Interestingly enough, Daryl Sattui (owner of Napa wineries V. Sattui and Castello di Amorosa) is quoted in the article as saying this is less of an issue here in the Napa Valley. Why? According to Sattui, the $10, $15 and sometimes $20+ tasting fees that most Napa wineries charge act as a bit of a filter, leaving only ‘serious tasters’ in the tasting rooms.
In our experience, Sattui is partially right–the fees certainly must deter some from ever entering a tasting room. That said, we’ve absolutely encountered the boisterous, rowdy groups of tasters here in the valley. Are the buses and limos to blame for this? Probably not. We see this as part of a natural (albeit unfortunate) process that has become more prevalent as wine has become more mainstream.
What’s your take? Who or what is to blame for obnoxious, drunken tasting room behavior?