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Wine stroll a hit; 400 enjoy Ripons best reds & whites
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Mark Lucchesi of the new start up Lucca Winery in Ripon serves Robin Rodrigues a glass of his red wine selection. - photo by GLENN KAHL

The annual Taste of Ripon wine stroll saw crowds going from shop to shop sampling wines and enjoying the finger foods that were included in the frigid evening.  The attendance was more than twice of that recorded last year.

A small Storer Transportation bus traveled from one end of Main Street to the other for those who needed a lift to far-away shops in the Schemper’s Hardware Shopping Center a mile away.

The event was a sellout with some 400 wine glasses donated by McManis Family Vineyards laid out on tables at the Ripon Library’s meeting room with strollers crowding in the doors at 7 p.m. sharp to confirm their registration and get their glasses.  The meeting room was staffed by chamber board members and staff.

Many of them walked directly across the street to the Bank of Stockton, where small beef sandwiches and cheeses awaited them. Mark Lucchesi served his Lucca label wine from his new startup business on River Road.

Coming into the bank trailing wine strollers and singing Christmas carols were the Harmony Choir and Yuletide Barbershop Quartet – both soon continuing down Main Street.  Mike Arends of the Corner Stop Eatery served piping hot lasagna soup in small plastic cups that seemed to be appreciated on the cold night.

Many ended up at the Ripon Road House in the old Odd Fellows Building, where chef Mellissa Mersaroli served large meat balls to the strollers to go with their wines.  While in most places the crowd stood and talked, patrons filled the tables at the Ripon Road House, choosing to stay and chat.

There were 27 businesses taking part in the evening Yule event.  Those included All Dolled Up, Jake’s Coffee, REO’s Espresso and Food, Almond Blossom Optometry, Just Rewards, Ripon Historical Society, Bank of Stockton, Magpie Antiques, Ripon Roadhouse, Bank of the West, Main Street Floral, Silverado Building Materials and Nursery, Baskin Robbins, Main Street Inc. Consignment Gallery, Sweet Summertime, Blush Boutique, Natural Path Wellness Center, The Corner Stop Eatery, Debbie’s Pet Grooming, Outlaw Boutique, The Cozy Nest, Divine Salon and Spa, PMZ Real Estate, The Ripon Record, Down 2 Earth Natural Living, ReMax Executive, and XCEL Physical Therapy.

The Taste of Ripon was considered a success by its organizers.