For some time now, farmers markets and wineries in Washington State have been working to get approval for a program that will allow wineries and breweries to pour samples of their wines and beers at farmers markets. Makes sense. After all, who wants to spend upwards of $15 on a product we’re not sure is to our taste?

The Good News

Earlier this year the Washington Senate approved a measure that will allow farmers markets in the state to run a trial program for beer and wine tastings. The program, overseen by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, is set to run July 1 through September 30, 2012.

The Not So Good News

That move is a baby step for wineries and breweries, as the program is very limited. First of all, only members of the Washington State Farmers Market Association may participate. There are 110 members according to Joel Wachs, past president of the organization.  Of those members, only those with a liquor license as of Jan. 1, 2011 are eligible to be part the project.  That narrows the field to 70 possible markets according to The Olympian newspaper.

Now consider that out of those 70 eligible markets, only 10 farmers markets will be allowed to be part of the pilot program. How will those markets be selected? Via a lottery. Additionally, only one winery or brewery in each participating farmers market can be a part of the program. No trading off from week to week, giving each winery and brewery a chance to give it a try.

Nevertheless, this baby step is a move forward. I hope to see it eventually progress in leaps and bounds.