PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon has no shortage of wine lovers thanks to its world-renowned vineyards.
They purchase memberships to vineyards and stickers advertising their preference for red or white. But the thing they can’t purchase is a custom license plate with characters that allude to their favorite form of alcohol.
In 2021, the Oregon DMV denied several wine-related custom license plate requests, including M3RL0T, MERL0, WINETM, WINE20, SH1RAZ AND MERL0W.
“The rules don’t allow references to alcohol, drugs or any controlled substance at all,” explained David House, spokesperson for the DMV. “Even legal prescription drugs are controlled substances, so we don’t allow references to those.”
The DMV also denied several plates making reference to beer and marijuana in 2021: WHSKY, ST0UTS, LAGER, BEEEER, MRWEED, BLAYZN, REEFER, and many more.
KOIN 6 News recently reported on the hundreds of custom license plate requests the state denied in 2021 and many people asked why Oregon would deny custom plate requests that make reference to alcohol, but allow a specialty plate dedicated to wine country.
Oregon’s wine country license plate became available in 2011 with the intent of encouraging tourism throughout the state.
“It’s a rich heritage that we have built in Oregon, like in California, like in France, and so the plate is meant to reflect that,” House said.
He said people raised questions when it was being discussed in the legislature 10 years ago, but that ultimately, lawmakers decided the plate would be allowed.
In those 10 years, House said there’s been no proposal to get rid of the plate and there’s been no proposal to get rid of the rule that prohibits references to alcohol in custom license plate characters.
So for now, Oregon’s wine lovers will have to settle for the wine country plate, but give up their dreams of having “M3RL0T” on their bumpers.
He said so far, about 54,000 Oregon Wine Country plate sets have been sold. Each plate set requires a $30 surcharge every two years with the funds administered by the Oregon Tourism Commission.