It’s time that Manteca embraces wine.
The general plan update that serves as a road map for developing Manteca over the next 20 years 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.
As such, it would build on the growing regional draw that Manteca has become. The city now — between Great Wolf, Big League Dreams and Bass Pro Shops alone — draws more than 3 million annual 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.
Mayor Gary Singh said an effort that could possibly lead to a wine tasting room showcasing all of those wineries and other nearby would not only boost those wineries and the paychecks they provide for the region, but it could further boost downtown traffic.
Singh said if the city is able to move forward with a private-public partnership to build a multi-story building on land they own on the northwest corner of Sycamore and Yosemite, it could possibly provide an ideal location for a wine tasting room.
The vision is to have commercial space on the main floor and residential on the second through fourth floors.
It would also be within walking distance of the Brethren Brewing Company and the soon to open Deaf Puppy Comedy Club as well as down the street from The Veranda Events Center.
The area wineries are generally lumped into the Lodi Wine Appellation.
Area wineries & county
status for growing grapes
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 theatrically 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.
San Joaquin County is the largest winegrape growing county in California.
Delicato, currently in its 99th year, is now the fifth largest winery in the United States.
Its portfolio includes 20 premium wine brands crafted from 6,000 plus acres of estate vineyards in the Napa, Lodi (San Joaquin County), Monterey and Sonoma wine regions.
Delicato is one of 85 wineries — many with wine tasting rooms — in the Lodi Region.
It is the third largest winery for exporter of wine in the United States.
The winery is still on the original land where Gaspare Indelicato started it all on the southwest quadrant of French Camp Road and the Highway 99 interchange.
The Wine Group — a relatively newcomer that got its start in 1981 — is six miles to the east of Manteca. Its winery and warehouse are along East Highway 120 in the rural Ripon area on the way to Escalon.
The Wine Group sold 51 million cases last year. Unlike Delicato, the winery does not have a wine tasting room.
And while more and more vineyards keep popping up in the South County, there is a dearth of wine tasting rooms.
That is changing.
Zinc House Farm plans to expand from a small to large winery on the north side of East Highway 120 located 0.7 miles east of Carrolton Road. It will include the first tasting room is proposed along East Highway 120 between Manteca and Escalon.
The biggest winery in the United States — as well as the world — is Gallo in Modesto.
It blows the doors off the competition shipping 88 million cases a year.
San Joaquin County in 2021 had 68,475 acres planted in wine grapes while overall grape production takes place on 88,700 acres.
Grape acreage is segmented by type grown for wine, those raised to produce raisins, and table grapes.
Following San Joaquin County in the wine grape category is Sonoma at 57,075 acres, Fresno at 55,510 acres, Napa at 46,019 acres, and Monterey at 45,972 acres.
Two counties — Fresno and Kern — grow more grapes overall than San Joaquín County.
Fresno tops the “all” category with 171,000 acres. In addition to the 55,510 acres of wine grapes Fresno County has 31,711 acres of table grapes and a whopping 85,299 acres of grapes that ultimately will their way to store shelves as raisins,
San Joaquin County shares a lot of things with the Napa Valley.
Ideal soil. Cool winters that chill vines. Warm to hot days during the growing season that come with essential cooling night breezes to help make the sugar content more robust.
What San Joaquin County doesn’t share with the Napa Valley is a reputation as a tourist Mecca with $300 spa treatments and $250 mud baths and top-tier dining, although Ernie’s Fine Dining and Spirits in Manteca is impressive enough it draws clientele from San Francisco while Lodi’s wineries can hold their own for wine tasting.
The idea to encourage the establishment of wine tasting rooms in Manteca as well as the possible Stanislaus River Appellation branding was thanks to input from a citizens advisory group that helped launch the general plan update seven years ago.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org