New Law Lets You Take Home Unfinished Bottle of Wine

Call it Merlot to Go. Starting Friday, if you order a bottle of wine with dinner and don’t finish it, you can take it with you, but there are some concerns the new law could lead to more drunk driving.

Restaurant owner Andrew Reiss sells pricey bottles of Napa Valley Merlot, a wine you might not want to waste, and the Merlot to Go bill will allow you savor the taste.

“Allowing people to take a bottle of wine home that they haven’t finished is right, it seems right, because there’s a lot of responsible drinkers out there who want to just drink a half a bottle or a bottle and a half between four people and be able to take it home with them.”

You will only be able to take the bottle with you if you buy an entire meal at the restaurant. The wine will have to be in a sealed bag placed in your locked glove compartment or trunk, or behind the back seat if you don’t have a trunk.

There was very little opposition to the bill. Only five lawmakers voted against it, but there was some concern it could actually lead to more drinking and driving.

Mothers against drunk driving did not take a position on the bill because there haven’t been any studies on how it might influence behavior.

But MADD spokesman Andy Hindman says there could be problems.

“For example if a person finishes a bottle of wine and knowing that they could take the remainder home, they could be encouraged to purchase an additional bottle.”

MADD will be tracking the law to make sure it doesn’t become another excuse to drink more than you should.