On the ballot: should the sale of alcohol be permitted on Sundays in Wise County?

PHOTO: Samantha Zarek

WISE COUNTY, VA - The current law in Wise County does not allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays, but travel up the road a few miles to any of the towns within the county, and it's a different story.

"Each independent jurisdiction has the right to decide on their own, the sale of wine and beer in their specific jurisdiction," says Commonwealth's attorney for Wise County and Norton, Chuck Slemp.

Alcohol sales on Sunday is legal in each of the six jurisdictions within Wise County as well as the city of Norton. The question on the ballot is for the businesses that lie outside of any town borders, but still within the county of Wise. Those include vineyards, country clubs, and several convenience stores.

"They may be less than a mile or so to a town border, so they might have competition just a mile down the road where it's permitted, whereas in the county it's not permitted," Slemp says.

Mountain Rose Vineyards is one of those businesses, outside town borders, but within county limits.

"Someone drives up every Sunday, and they have to either drive through and see the sign closed, or we walk out and say we're sorry, we're not open on Sunday," says co-owner of Mountain Rose Vineyards, Suzanne Lawson.

Lawson says permitting alcohol sales on Sundays would not only boost her business, but it could also increase tourism in Wise County.

"We're hoping that those Sunday sales would bring in people to us who would then go eat someplace in the community, and would stay somewhere overnight, and just keep those tourists a little longer," Lawson says.

Citizens will vote on Sunday alcohol sales in Wise County on November 7th.