In a policy decision that is certain to rock the Utah wine world, the UDABC (Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) has announced that it will provide customers with an opportunity to sample wines in Utah Wine Stores before they buy.
"Ever since former 'wine czar' Brett Clifford left the UDABC, we've been criticized for not stocking the premium wines that our customers want and expect. They spoke; we listened," said a UDABC spokesperson.
Starting on April 1, 2015, each of Utah's Wines Stores will be equipped with a small sampling counter - "It's not a 'bar'" said the spokesperson - where wine buyers can have bottles opened and try a 1-ounce "sample" pour to taste before they buy. No Zion curtain! Remarkably, this service will be free, with no obligation on the part of the customers.
"We're confident that our clients will sample wisely," said the spokesperson, adding "Although we may have to limit samples to five per customer if things get out of hand."
When I asked about the potential monetary losses from unpurchased, open wine bottles, a local wine broker said, "Are you kidding me? With the markups that the UDABC imposes on customers they could give away
one bottle out of three and still turn a profit. At any rate, I get my cut no matter what happens to those open bottles."
"This is a very abrupt change in the way the UDABC does things," I commented to the UDABC spokesperson, who replied, "Yes, it is
sudden. But, we wanted to be able to give our customers a real treat and a special surprise for April Fool's Day. It's just the way we roll."