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Dear Restaurant Owner and/or Wine Buyer:


The Wine Patrol is not looking to go to war. In fact, we desperately want a negotiated peace, one that allows you all the freedom to devise and price a wine list as you wish, but one that also gives some thought to those of us working people who love fine dining with good wines, and owing to our mortgages must now practice some restraint.


For those of us who can’t afford to eat out nightly, the dining experience is special. We look forward to going to your restaurant, sampling your delicious food, lapping up your attentive service and reveling in the entire ambiance. Unfortunately, for us there is no fine dining without good wine. When the average wine bottle on your list costs more than our dinner, you make it financially difficult for us to enjoy our dining experience.


Please consider us.



Join the Wine Patrol Approved List

(WinePAL®) program.



To receive WinePAL certification from the Wine Patrol, we require the following:


We’re not asking restaurants to change their wine pricing policies, but we request that you give some thought to your cash-strapped, wine-loving clientele. The Wine Patrol thinks that every restaurant wine list should have at least one fine wine under $30 in each and every category. We think it is reasonable to request that at least 10 percent of the list is under $30.


We prefer that there be no corkage fee, but if there is, keep it at $10 per bottle or less. For each bottle purchased from the list, corkage for at least one bottle should be waived.


The Wine Patrol would like to know who is purchasing the wine. Put their name right on the list, so we know who to congratulate or who to blame. There are literally hundreds of great inexpensive wines available. Wines like Malbec and Torrontes from Argentina, Monastrell and Garnacha from Spain, Cotes du Rhone and Rousillon from France all offer great quality at value prices and could easily appear on your list for under $30. Place these low-priced, quality wines on your list and we will find them. Let us know that you take the same care and interest in seeking out your wine as you do when purchasing your produce, meats and seafood.


We’d like to see restaurants pass along deals offered by local wineries and distributors. Remember the wineries have shortened their profit margins to get the wines to your customer’s palate. When you get a deal on wine, pass the savings along to your customers. We’ll love you for it. We’ll buy more wine. That will make us happy and it will make the wineries (your suppliers) happy.


If you meet the other WinePAL criteria, Wine Patrol Agents will visit your restaurant to assess your attitudes on wine pricing, wine list composition and your outlook as it relates to our theme. Convince us that you understand our concerns and that you will sincerely address our needs as best you can and you are in.



We understand that many of your customers don’t mind paying for expensive wines. Fine. Set up your wine list accordingly. All we ask is that you make some allowances for us. Include some treasures at good prices on your list. Put those treasures at fair prices on your list, and we will find them, and thank you for taking the trouble.


If all this is making sense to you and you meet the requirements for a Wine Patrol Approved List, then you qualify for WinePAL certification. If you would like to apply for WinePAL certification, please send the following materials:



Wine lists should provide vintages and appellations for all selections—including wines by the glass. Lists entered for consideration must accurately reflect what a customer would see at your restaurant.


Once your application is received, the Wine Patrol will dispatch deputies to dine at your restaurant. If the wine list and service meet our requirements, you will receive a colorful WinePAL certification to display at your restaurant.


There is no cost to restaurants to apply for

and/or receive the WinePAL certification.


(The Wine Patrol will not give out any information received

in your application to any other body, group or sales entity.)


All entries should be addressed to

Wine Patrol

WinePAL Program

P.O. Box 228

Vineburg, CA 95487


            For further information you may call Lance Cutler at (707) 996-5730 or email him at