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Ask Dr. Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

You answered an inquiry about bringing wine to a McDonald’s and stated it would be illegal to sell wine through the drive-up window. Not here! Liquor stores in Arkansas are allowed to sell through drive-up windows, which is very convenient for handicapped or disabled customers, moms shopping with small children, and in bad weather conditions, and in high-crime areas it adds to employees’ safety and peace of mind.

—Doug, North Little Rock, Ark.

Dear Doug,

Thanks for your letter, and for the other readers who correctly pointed out that in my recent “Can I bring wine to McDonald’s?” answer, I implied that selling wine through a drive through was a no-no. In fact, nearly half of U.S. states allow variations of drive-thru stores that sell wine, liquor and beer. I’ve even found out that some places sell drive-thru ready-to-drink frozen alcoholic beverages in a cup, with a straw on the side (though I have yet to read about wine sippy cups). Ultimately, local zoning laws dictate the legality on a case-by-case basis.

I think you’re right to point out the wineglass-half-full positives about the convenience of these stores. As you might imagine, on the other side there are concerns about selling alcohol to people driving vehicles, and most regions have laws against driving with open containers of alcohol.

To the readers who suggested that these alcohol drive-thrus should pave the way for wine at fast-food restaurants, keep in mind that liquor stores have something that fast-food places typically don’t: a liquor license. If you’re craving a cold glass of rosé to go with those French fries, best to enjoy them at home.

—Dr. Vinny

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