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Farmers market move to Stouffer may include wine

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POSTED March 5, 2014 1:31 a.m.

The Ripon area is surrounded by its fair share of vineyards and wineries.

So when the Ripon Chamber of Commerce bandied about ideas to expand the Farmers’ Market – other than the new location at Stouffer Park – it made sense to consider adding wine tasting to  the six-week summer event.

“I think it’s worthwhile,” Jake Parks said at Tuesday’s Ripon City Council meeting. “I don’t know of any other farmers’ market with wine tasting.”

Wine Group’s Franzia, for example, dominates the U.S. box wine industry.

McManis, Alger, and Vincenza are listed among the local wineries. Delicato in Manteca is just up the road.

Councilman Parks also serves on the chamber’s Farmers Market Committee. The plan, if approved, could allow for a single vendor to possibly use Stouffer Hall for wine tasting and sales as early as this year, he said.

His colleague appeared in support of the plan. Vice Mayor Elden ‘Red’ Nutt and City Attorney Tom Terpstra pointed out that a few obstacles still stand in the way.

“We would have to amend a number our ordinances,” Terpstra said.

Nutt added that the wineries would have to be on board along with special event permits.

Mayor Chuck Winn asked, “What’s the interest of the wineries?”

He pointed out that ordinances were put in place, in part, to prevent unruliness and public drunkenness.

The Ripon Farmers’ Market is again on the move. It was located downtown in previous years and, prior to that, it was held at the former Mar Val Market currently the Dollar General parking lot.

“The first week or two, the Farmers’ Market does real, real well. But after that it’s a struggle,” Parks said.

He’s strongly in favor of bringing in the wineries and wine makers here to allow them to sale their products. “This is part of our culture,” said Parks.

The hope of adding wine tasting includes attracting locals as well as visitors to the summer event.

“It makes sense (to have wine tasting) because of the vineyards,” Councilman Dean Uecker said. “I like the idea but Farmers’ Market is also a family event and we have to be careful.”

The Chamber will use the information from this meeting to continue working on the plan.

“This is not a slam dunk by far,” said Winn. “There are still a variety of concerns.

“Is the plan feasible?”

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