Merlot can be a variety of grape or a type of red wine, but not an acceptable personalized license plate in the state of Utah.
Glenn Eurick’s 1996 Mercedes has had the license plate reading “merlot” for 10 years. He says the plate never got a lot of notice until the Utah Tax Commission told him last week that he had to remove it because the state doesn’t allow words of intoxicant to be used on vanity plates.
Six or seven-letter words like liquor or whiskey probably wouldn’t make it through the state screening process before the plates are issued. But merlot did and Eurick was fine until an anonymous caller told the state that merlot was also an alcoholic beverage.
Eurick’s car with the offending plate is dark red, like the wine. He said few people who asked about the plate made the connection. Though one man did ask “if we chose merlot because there were too many letters in cabernet sauvignon,” Eurick said.
Eurick said he will challenge the state’s decision.