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State Relents in Corkage Debate: Programs to follow lead of Yakima wineries and restaurants.

Yakima, Wash. -- Regulators in Washington state have opened the door to restaurants' waivers of corkage fees for local wines bought the same day, a move local wineries believe will support sales during a difficult economic era. Restaurant have sought to waive corkage in the past, with Yakima restaurants pioneering one successful initiative during the past three years.

Jar Arcand of Santiago's, a Mexican restaurant in Yakima, approached local wineries and tasting rooms in 2008, offering to waive corkage fees if visitors brought wines purchased that day to accompany a meal.

The success of the arrangement led 14 downtown restaurants and seven wineries in September 2009 to create a corkage-free zone in Yakima for local wines purchased the same day. Katherine Goodson of 2,500-case Kana Winery in Yakima said the program was a way to make tourists feel welcome. "(Guests) loved coming into town and knowing that the town recognizes them," she told Wines & vines, noting that the initiative was more about cooperation among business than boosting sales. "Those guests that we told they could go that we told they could go to certain restaurants and have their corkage fee waived, we don't know if they actually went," Goodson said. "We didn't offer this until after we sold our wines, because we were trying to be careful not to use that as a sales pitch, because our wines had better be the sales pitch."

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Title Annotation:MARCH NEWS
Comment:State Relents in Corkage Debate: Programs to follow lead of Yakima wineries and restaurants.(MARCH NEWS)
Author:Mitham, Peter
Publication:Wines & Vines
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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