Wine bill gives hope to Pennsylvania B&Bs
American Vintage Bed and Breakfast, Stewartstown, is next to Naylor Wine Cellars, but current state law prevents the B&B from serving its neighbor’s wine to guests.
“The rules are ridiculous. My guests can go over there and bring me a complimentary bottle, but I can’t give them one,” said JoAnn Dalton, owner of the bed and breakfast at 5740 Thompson Road.
A state House bill passed recently that would change all that.
Sponsored by Rep. Scott Petri, R-Bucks County, HB 244 would allow Pennsylvania bed-and-breakfast owners to give one bottle of wine produced by a licensed, limited Pennsylvania winery.
B&Bs and wineries are an integral part of the state’s tourism industry, and many are located within driving distance of each other, he said.
“My bill fixes an archaic and senseless law by enabling B&B operators who want to offer a complimentary bottle of local wine to their guests to do so without having to first obtain a liquor license,” Petri said.
It also will help the state’s B&Bs compete with those in other states that advertise the complimentary beverages as part of lodging packages.
Overwhelming approval: His bill passed the House without debate by a 200-to-1 vote and is now going before the Senate for approval.
Workers at Naylor Wine Cellars are hoping the bill becomes law.
“It’s a boost for the B&Bs and wineries, and just good for tourism across the board,” said Ted Potter, winemaker for the winery at 4069 Vineyard Road.
There are nearly 900 B&Bs and about 180 wineries that could benefit from the proposed change, according to the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
“It’s a great idea for all of us and the state. The more you can do to attract people to the area, the better,” Potter said.
The demand: It also will help supply meet demand.
Joanne Shannon, owner of Grace Manor Bed and Breakfast, said she often gets requests she can’t fulfill.
“We often hear people ask for wine and, right now, we can’t give it to them,” she said.
The venue at 258 W. Market St. in York City also hosts events, during which “it would be nice to give a bottle of wine,” Shannon said.
So far, the current law hasn’t been enough to hinder business, but a change could give it a boost, she said.
“I don’t think people would opt not to come to a B&B if they couldn’t get a bottle of complimentary wine, but it enhances the guest experience. And we’re always looking for ways to enhance the guest experience,” Shannon said.
Reach Candy Woodall at email@example.com.