Legal Blog

Saturday SideBar: Italian Alcholic Beverages

I apologize for my unannounced absence last week. My wife and I were in Italy. We visited Rome, Positano and Ostia Antica. I’m getting over my jetlag and catching up, so I thought I’d just mention a few observations I made in Italy about alcoholic beverages.

  1. The wine is cheap (and good).

We stayed in an apartment in Rome for a few days and would bring home wine from Todis® after a long day of walking around and seeing some sights. Good bottles (at least good enough for us) could be purchased for between about € 3,99 – 6,99 (a ceiling of $6.37 at today’s exchange rate, too bad we didn’t wait a week). I suppose that’s because there are no shipping or import duties rolled into the cost. It’s all local! Even at restaurants, it wasn’t too bad.

  1. People walk around with drinks.

I don’t profess to know the open container policy of any locality within Italy, but we saw a number of folks walking around with one. In Rome, we’d only see this occasionally. I got the feeling it’s not illegal, but maybe it’s not the classiest thing to do, so the people just regulate their own activities as that goes (except in Positano, probably due to the high concentration of American tourists – particularly the young ones). I did, however, read that Rome’s mayor placed a ban on alcohol in streets and piazzas on summer evenings, so if you want to walk around with it wait ‘til fall.

  1. Italy has superalcoholic beverages!

OK, that just means liquor, aka distilled beverages. Beer and wine are merely alcoholic beverages. I like that terminology.

  1. Minors

They can’t purchase alcohol, but there is no criminal liability for consuming it publicly unless they are found to be intoxicated (adults can get fined for that too). I hear that technically, however, the authorities are supposed to take them home to mom and dad and tell them what happened though. I also hear that the authorities usually have better things to do so that never happens.

  1. Wine laws.

The Italian wine laws deal mostly with quality, although compliance is not an absolute requirement. “Table wine” is the lowest quality wine (which I found just fine). Then you have Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT), Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), in increasing order of quality. DOC wines can only be made from certain types of grapes and from designated regions, such as Chianti. DOCG is the same as DOC, except they have better-established quality controls in their production.

  1. Grappa

On our last evening, in Ostia Antica, I asked a waiter at a restaurant if he recommended any particular digestive after dinner. He said, “Grappa is always free”. Then he introduced a bottle of it to our table with a couple of glasses. Basically it’s a spirit made from the leftovers of the winemaking process. Now I know why it’s free!

For more information on this topic, please contact Scott Lloyd at slloyd@offitkurman.com.

 

ABOUT SCOTT LLOYD

slloyd@offitkurman.com | 301.575.0357

Scott Lloyd is a registered patent attorney who specializes in intellectual property counseling and commercialization work. He has served as a technology commercialization specialist and advisor to companies in a diverse array of markets, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food and beverage, specialty chemicals, technology, and engineering. In addition, Mr. Lloyd spent ten years as in-house general counsel to small and mid-sized companies, where he managed corporate matters and resolved commercial disputes in addition to intellectual property strategy, and now serves in the same capacity for entrepreneurial clients. He serves as counsel to small and mid-sized business owners seeking to implement growth strategies and succession plans.

While in house, Mr. Lloyd has also contributed to the successful formation of international affiliates of domestic businesses as well as a $400,000,000 business acquisition.

 

 

ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN

Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing full-service law firms in the United States. With over 200 attorneys in 14 offices that stretch from New York to North Carolina, we represent privately-held companies and families of wealth throughout their business life cycles. Our mission is to provide our clients with “The Better Way” to grow their organizations, protect their businesses’ and families’ wealth, and resolve their most challenging legal conflicts. In addition to our quality of attorneys and breadth of legal services, Offit Kurman is distinguished by our unique operational structure, which encourages collaboration rather than internal competition. The same approach that makes our firm attractive to legal practitioners gives clients unlimited access to experienced counsel in every area of the law. Trust, Knowledge, Confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.

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