By LARRY O'DELL, Associated Press Writer Fri Jan 25, 3:51 AM ET
RICHMOND, Va. - If you're served a pitcher of authentic sangria in a Virginia restaurant, someone's breaking the law.
Since 1934, the state has prohibited mixing wine or beer with spirits. Frances McDonald, vice president of La Tascaand Restaurants, found that out the hard way when his location was cited for violating the sangria ban in 2006 and fined $2,000.
McDonald and managing partner Shana McKillop appealed their case to theon Thursday before going to the Capitol to urge legislators to pass a bill legalizing the red wine, liqueur and fruit concoction.
McDonald said his business received no warning about the ban. He said he was unaware of the prohibition and had he known about it would not have located any of his five restaurants in. "It's like not being able to serve tequila in a Mexican restaurant," he said.
Theagent who cited La Tasca even ordered restaurant employees to pour its sangria — about 40 liters — down the drain, said Shana McKillop, managing partner at the Alexandria restaurant.
A ruling on the La Tasca's appeal should take two to four weeks, said Kristy Marshall, a spokeswoman for the ABC Department. In the meantime, the restaurant has taken to modifying its sangria recipe. The brandy has been eliminated and the triple sec replaced with a nonalcoholic orange liqueur.
"It's still sangria but not as authentic as we'd like to offer our guests," McKillop said.