Peregrinating and Wine is Not a Crime


Walk it off, indeed. A group of fundraisers in Wisconsin is fighting to change a state law that forbids them from walking between multiple locations and tasting wine.

The Wine Walks, a bi-annual community fundraising event in Baraboo, Wisconsin, began in 2008. These wildly popular events generate a good store of cash for civic causes in the town of Baraboo; population: 12,048. Ticket buyers are invited to sample different wines at various stops (usually local businesses) throughout the community. The events get people to pound the pavement, patronize local businesses, mingle with their neighbors and of course, try some new wines. Great idea, right? Every Town USA should give it a try.

But in Baraboo, it’s completely illegal.

A state law dictates that those without a liquor license can obtain a permit to serve alcohol, as long as it is being served at a single location. It is not possible for a single group to serve alcohol at multiple locations.
Last week, a support group for the wine walkers met with Wisconsin state legislators to work toward getting the law changed. The politicians (Rep. Dave Considine and Katy Prange, district director for state Senator Howard Marklein in West Baraboo, Wisconsin) appear to be siding with the cause, but have counseled that such changes can take a great deal of time.

This situation touches upon the broader topic of wine legislation, and whether or not some of it is necessary or simply archaic. Wine is tightly controlled because of its history as an intoxicant. All aspects of the wine industry are touched by this regulation, from shipping to serving to selling and everything in between.

The Baraboo wine walk community is determined to get the law changed so that they can move forward with their fall 2015 walk. You will find their petition to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue here. Will you be signing?

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