The perfect wine pairing?
Manteca and wineries.
Manteca Mayor Gary Singh believes such a pairing will boost the prosperity of the agricultural sector in San Joaquin County as well as Manteca’s economy.
San Joaquin County, after all, is the largest wine grape producing county in the nation, surpassing Napa and Sonoma counties.
It is also home to the world’s fifth largest winery — Delicato Vineyards.
And just east of Manteca on Highway 120 in rural Ripon is the Wine Group, the world’s second largest winery operation.
Singh envisions a wine tasting center of some sort in or near the city’s family entertainment zone (FEZ) or in downtown.
The FEZ is bookended by the Great Wolf indoors waterpark resort and Big League Dreams — two of the biggest visitor draws in Sann Joaquin County.
Toss in Bass Pro Shops just a mile away along the 120 corridor that relies on 98 percent of its business outside of the city and within a 100-mile radius, and there are in excess of 3 million visitors to Manteca.
The wine tasting room/center could also do double duty as a visitors center as does a similar center in Lodi.
The general plan adopted in July includes a recommendation that city leaders encourage the establishment of a Stanislaus River Appellation to showcase the wealth of area wineries.
In doing so, the general plan calls for encouraging five well-established area wineries to locate independent tasting rooms — or possibly a combined effort such as Lodi has done — in a central Manteca location convenient to local visitors.
Great Wolf corporate management has encouraged the city from the start to build on its drawing power and multi-million dollar marketing effort to develop more visitor-orientated attractions.
At other locations, not only do they feed off Great Wolf’s traffic but it helps solidify the water park resort for return visitors.
As such, that could have major impacts on Manteca especially if it encourages Great Wolf to exercise an option to increase the number of rooms they have at their Airport Way and 120 Bypass location from 500 to 750.
It could translate into a 50 percent bump in annual room tax receipts the city receives from Great Wolf guests to help underwrite day-to-day municipal services.
The general plan specifically alludes to the opportunities of working with Delicato, Barrel Ten, Wine Group, Gnekow, McManis, and Lucca wineries.
The area wineries are generally lumped into the Lodi Wine Appellation.
Delicato has a wine tasting room that is open seven days a week two miles north of Manteca at French Camp Road and Highway 99.
Lucca has a wine tasting room that is open several days a week.
Should a Stanislaus River Appellation be established, it could theoretically involve other wineries near the Stanislaus River such as in the Oakdale area.
Singh said such an endeavor would tie Manteca’s strong agricultural sector with the growing strength of Manteca’s draw as a destination for visitors for recreational activities.
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