Grape Escape to Return Thanks to New Legislation

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Sacramento's annual Grape Escape event brings wine, beer and food lovers together every June for the last 15 years - except one.

"The Grape Escape has been in Sacramento for 15 years and last year it got canceled because of old prohibitionary laws, the tied-house laws," Assemblymember Jim Cooper said.

The tied-house law has been around since prohibition. It prevents vintners, brewers or distillers from giving anything of "value" to retailers, such as marketing or promotion.

In 2014, a Sacramento-area vintner was fined by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for retweeting a post from SaveMart about the event.

When it came time for wineries to sign up again, many were scared off, unwilling to take the risk of possibly losing their liquor license.

That will change in January, when Cooper's AB776 takes effect. The bill allows alcohol retailers and manufacturers to promote and advertise for non-profit events.

"I am very excited. It's great for the Sacramento region, and I represent Lodi. Lodi produces more wine and wine grapes than Napa," Cooper said.

The Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau plans to hold the 2016 Grape Escape at Cesar Chavez Park sometime in June.

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