RIPON – Chuy Hernandez has been a regular of the three-hour wine stroll better known as ‘Taste of Ripon.’
“I think I’ve been to every one of them,” he said Thursday during the first of his six or seven planned stops.
Down the street at Jake’s Coffee, Tea and Sandwiches, Gina Murphy and Terri Murray were first-timers to the Ripon Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event.
“We heard about it from the signs posted around town,” said Murphy, noshing on an Aram sandwich made special for the occasion by Ripon’s newest councilman Jake Parks.
Besides wine, he had handcrafted brews served up by Delta Sierra of Modesto. “This is the first year they allowed beer (for ‘Taste of Ripon’),” said Parks, who also served up artichoke garlic bread.
About 250 folks were expected to take part in the 17th annual event involving 20 local businesses. Most were located along Main Street.
“This is one of our biggest events of the year,” said Vicky Eddy of the Chamber of Commerce. “It’s second only to the Almond Blossom Festival.”
The chamber, in fact, purchased one-day ABC liquor licenses for the participating businesses.
For the sister-in-law business partners of Audrey and Kendra Hofman, a “Taste of Ripon” provided a grand opening of sort preview to their recently relocated Main Street Floral.
“We were across the street for the past seven years,” said Audrey Hofman, who poured out bottles of chardonnay, Malbec, and cabinet.
She and Kendra Hofman offered up Dutch foods to compliment the wine.
Meanwhile, Hernandez and others purchased their ‘Taste of Ripon’ pass – included were wine glasses courtesy of McManis Family Vineyards, Inc. – at the Ripon Public Library. The other location was a vacant store front next to Schemper’s Hardware on Wilma Avenue.
His first stop was Bank of Stockton, where employees Vanessa Flores, Kirsten Anderson, and customer service representative Brenda Jimenez were on hand to pour a choice of three reds and a white wine from Lodi.
The Olde Towne Steak House catered the sample-sized tri-tip beef.
From there, Hernandez was looking to continue on with the wine stroll aboard one of the two Storer Coachway commercial buses.
One of the shuttle stops included Jake’s Coffee, Tea and Sandwiches. Partly because of that, the owner Parks had standing-room only at times.
“I think half the people started (the stroll) from here,” said Murray.
‘Taste of Ripon’ also included Bank of the West, Baskin Robbins, Blush Boutique, Johnny’s Plumbing, Natural Path Wellness Center, New China Restaurant, PMZ Real Estate, Re/Max Executives, Ridiculous BBQ & Catering, Ripon Historical Society, Ripon Primary & Urgent Care, Ripon Roadhouse, Salon Tre’ Belle & Boutique, Silverado Building Materials & Nursery, The Cozy Nest, the Ripon Record and EXCEL Physical Therapy.