Perhaps there is literally an untapped market for wines — as in selling it straight out of the barrel.
And that’s why state lawmakers, led by Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, have proposed legislation to allow reusable containers to be filled from grocery stores, wine boutiques and other places licensed to sell vino.
“It’s an additional way to market and appeal to customers,” Wylie said. “And being able to safely reuse your bottles is a good thing.”
From our vantage point in a town where some of Washington state’s finest wine — if not the best wine — is made, this proposal is a good one.
Why not offer another option to purchase wine at a lower cost and in a way that’s environmentally friendly?
Oregon currently has a law allowing growler purchases at wineries, but no other states have passed or proposed a bill that would extend sales for growlers outside of wineries, Heather Morton, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told The Associated Press.
It is already legal in Washington state to refill glass bottles — known as growlers — with beer. Many taverns and bars now sell the growlers and fill them, and then refill them, from taps.
Adding wine to the offerings should be no big deal.
“It would be easier, and more convenient for customers to have filling stations outside of my winery,” said Paul Beveridge of Seattle’s Wilridge Winery and president of Family Wineries of Washington State, which is a proponent of the proposed legislation.
Understand, buying wine in a growler isn’t for everybody. Wine in a growler is supposed to be consumed in a relatively short amount of time. Once opened, according to the chatter on the internet, it seems the shelf life is a maybe a week.
Still, if customers have need for some wine to drink ASAP this could be a good option.
And some might find it appealing to avoid dumping bottles in the landfill.
“Right now if you go into a store and buy a bottle of wine, you consume the wine, and the bottle hopefully goes into a recycling container, but for many people, it would go into a landfill,” said Anne Baunach, executive director of the Washington State Recycling Association.
It saves on corks, too.
Allowing wine growlers to be sold and refilled seems to have a lot of upside.