How you get a permit will depend on the state you live in and what type of event you are hosting. You need to stay within the legal boundaries of your location when providing alcoholic beverages for sale, or even for free, at a wine tasting event.

Find out whether your wine tasting qualifies for a special-occasion permit. Special-occasion permits are for events, such as weddings, charitable fundraisers and community festivals. A permit like this is normally good for a week or less, depending on state laws.

Seek out your state’s liquor-control board online. You can find state-specific instructions on how to apply for a license or permit to keep you in good legal standing in your area. You can find the appropriate State alcohol-control board at the Marin Institute website (see Resources below).

Take a look at local applications and permit requirements by accessing your state’s website via (see Resources below).

Check the requirements for frequency limitations on special-occasion permits. If you plan on hosting more that one tasting event, be aware that some states have varying rules regarding the number of special permits you can get throughout the year.

State where your event will be held when you contact your local board. The need for a permit depends on where your event will be held and whether you plan to sell the alcohol or serve it to your guests free of charge. If you are simply hosting a tasting party in your private residence, you need not worry.

Indicate on your application whether you will be using public streets during your event. If the event blocks access to any part of a street, you will need to get approval from the local municipal authority and attach it to the permit application.

Prepare a description of the room in which the wine tasting will be held. Some agencies will need the measurements of the room and a specific description about what it will be used for, such as storage, bottling and serving.


  • Get a limited permit if you are having a tasting off site from a winery that is already up and running.

  • If the tasting is being held outdoors, like in a park, you will likely need a permit regardless of whether or not the alcohol is being provided for free or for sale.