City Sets Sights on Early Imbibing

Strange that the city of Alameda keeps pressing — no pun intended — the Alameda Wine Company to open at 11 a.m.

It is hard to imagine the target audience.

Most people haven't even digested their scrapple and hush puppies yet and already they are expected to start slamming down the Barbaresco.

Who exactly would city government like to see gulping Liebfraumilch at 11 in the morning? Park Street shop owners? The press?

What professional group do they envision doing Gewuerztraminer shooters before noon? Alameda Municipal Power? The fire department? Tattoo artists?

Traditional cities, like London for example, would not allow pubs to open before four in the afternoon; the city of London wanted people at their work stations sober; to run up productivity and to keep the pound strong.

Few people with indoor housing have the luxury of tossing down the first glass of Muscatel much before noon.

My dentist — on Santa Clara Avenue — is only a few blocks from the Alameda Wine Company; would the city want him performing a root canal after the second tumbler of Pink Catawba?

Alameda High School is just around the corner; imagine the test scores if the teachers ducked out at 11 for a taste of retsina.

Now that the school district headquarters has moved to fancier digs in Marina Village, do we really want them driving back to the highrent district after a tossing back a magnum of Pink Zinfandel or splitting a Jeroboam of Muscat?

Especially if they are driving a company car?

The Wine Company should have bet on the contrary, power hungry, nature of city government.

Initially, they should have bluffed; they should have begged City Hall for a permit to start serving at 7 a.m. in order to address the needs of commuter traffic on the Nimitz Freeway. Naturally city hall would have denied the request but the Wine Company could have countered with 8 a.m. then 9 a.m., then 10 a.m.

Eventually, following a chain of righteous, indignant refusals from the city, the Wine Company would have been ratcheted back to 3 p.m.

The city would have exercised its Hobbesian muscle and Kafkaesque authority and the Wine Lady would have had her non-profitable mornings off.

Furthermore, neither public employees nor the working class would have had wine-stained breath before the sun was up over the yardarm.

If the 11 a.m. opening time is about revenue, why did the city issue a permit for another wine bistro, a clone, right next door to Alameda Wine Company?

Rarely does such propinquity with the competition serve to raise revenues; on the contrary, if anything it siphons off the trade.

Hopefully, this is not some Machiavellian squeeze play where the Gentle Wine Lady is forced to make way for Bain Capital, Wine Coolers Inc. or some Big Wine Box.

Although I like wine coolers with my oatmeal and Pop Tarts, I really don't like boxed wine before 11 a.m.

Jeffrey R Smith teaches math at Encinal High School, a safe distance from the Gentle Wine Lady.

 

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