ABLE Commission corks mall holiday wine sales in Oklahoma

Two wineries planned to set up temporary kiosks at Penn Square Mall for the Christmas season but ABLE shut it down. Whether shopping malls qualify as a festival or trade show is a gray area in state law some say needs to be addressed.
BY JENNIFER PALMER jpalmer@opubco.com Published: December 22, 2012
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“There wasn't much we could do about it,” Butler said. “Appeals are useless when you are two weeks before Christmas.”

Summerside also planned to have booths at Tulsa's Woodland Hills Mall and Tulsa Promenade this year, but canceled them all. As in previous years, they would sell bottles of their own wine, along with wine-related gifts, and provide free samples to patrons over 21 years old.

“We've done very well there. We were really counting on that business,” Butler said.

Definition to law

At the most recent ABLE Commission meeting, Maisch advised the commissioners that at some point, they may be asked to provide definition to the law as it applies to shopping malls. But Gene Clifton, president of the Oklahoma Grape Growers and Wine Makers Association, wishes ABLE would make a decision — even if it means taking the wineries to court — and stop leaving them to wonder if what they are doing is legal or not.

Clifton, who owns Canadian River Vineyards and Winery in Slaughterville, said as it stands, he wouldn't want to set up shop at a mall.

“It's just too vague right now. It's too scary. You could lose your license,” he said.

For Urban Wineworks, which made its first attempt to do business at Penn Square Mall during the holidays this year, even a few weeks of its presence at the mall drew more customers to the winery at 1749 NW 16, said general manager Andrew Stanley. The winery participates in more than 40 festivals per year, and hasn't given up on the mall.

“It would be nice to be able to set up in the mall and offer the product to customers,” Stanley said, adding that they plan to work with the ABLE Commission for next year.



Definitions

Festival: A time of celebration marked by special observances; an often periodic celebration or program of events or entertainment having a specified focus.

Trade show: A large exposition to promote awareness and sales of especially new products within an industry.

SOURCE: Merriam-Webster dictionary

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