ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A bill sponsored by two state senators aims to allow customers to bring their own bottle of wine to restaurants.
Taking your favorite bottle of Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc to your favorite restaurant could soon become a possibility in New Mexico.
Senators Ron Griggs, R-Doña Ana, Eddy and Otero, and Bill O’Neill, D-Bernalillo, are sponsoring a bill that would allow patrons to take their own bottle of wine to open and consume at restaurants.
“It’s not like they can just come to the restaurant, drink the bottle of wine and go,” Sen. Griggs said. “No, they have to buy a meal.”
It would be up to each establishment whether to charge a corkage fee to open and serve the wine.
“For me, I think corkage is a good idea. Here’s why — it doesn’t take any bread of the restaurateur,” Steve Paternoster, owner of Scalo on Central near Carlisle, said.
The bill sounds like it could hurt the bottom line for restaurants, but restaurant owners, like Paternoster or Terry Keene at Artichoke Cafe on Central at Edith, disagree.
Paternoster says he seldom gets corkage requests as it is. Keene also says he doesn’t expect to be bombarded by corkage requests if the law passes.
“I don’t see it hurting my business. It might only help,” Keene said.
“I think it gives that restaurant an opportunity to offer a service that currently they really can’t do,” Griggs said.
The bill would only encourage people — from near or far — to try local wines and food, according to Griggs and the restaurant owners.
“It gives tourists and folks coming into our state to check out our burgeoning wine industry,” Paternoster said. “It gives them an opportunity to go to a local restaurant or chain restaurant and try what they’ve purchased within the state.”
Griggs sponsored a similar in bill in 2015 that ultimately died in committee. He expects this new bill to pass as changes have been made to clarify certain details.
Some of those details include liability. Griggs tells KRQE News 13 there would be no additional liability.
“The restaurant will still have the same obligation to make sure that individuals do not become intoxicated,” he said.