Local wineries look forward to joining farmers markets | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Local wineries look forward to joining farmers markets

Susan Wood

Come June 1, two vendors will add a unique flavor to the South Lake Tahoe farmers markets.

Fitzpatrick and Boeger wineries of El Dorado County are due to display their wine at one of the South Shore’s showcase summer events on Tuesday mornings.

Brian Fitzpatrick, whose 25-year-old vineyards are located 18 miles southeast of Placerville, came to Tahoe last fall to scope out the first farmers markets he’s considered as a venue to sell his organically-based varietals. These include chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, zinfandel, merlot and syrah – which thrive in the Sierra foothills.

“One of the reasons we want to do the Tahoe market is because of the heat. I don’t want to be in the Sacramento markets in 100-degree weather with thousands of dollars in wine in my truck,” he said.

In addition, Fitzpatrick, who also makes a cabernet-syrah blend, said the markets’ mix of locals and tourists appeals to his company. He also likes the proximity of the grounds to the American Legion Hall on Highway 50. Liquor can be consumed there.

With approval from VFW officials, shoppers could legally taste wine in the building on Highway 50.

Since a California law allowing the sale of state-bottled wine at farmers markets went into effect in January 2002, El Dorado County Certified Farmers Markets Manager Jim Coalwell has sought a winery to display its varietals.

“This will be a big change for the market. Sometimes people react differently to alcohol being served. Sometimes it’s a negative thing. But the California Legislature passed this to promote small wineries,” the Placerville grower said.

When it rains, it pours.

Boeger Winery also expressed interest in selling wine at the local farmers markets, too.

Beyond wine, markets customers can expect to see some of the old favorites from last year – including the Tahoe House seasoning and Andre’s baked goods. Several varieties of fruits and vegetables are also expected.

Coalwell confirmed the farmers markets will not return to Heavenly Village because of parking and access problems.

But with a warm March, some crops like strawberries have accelerated their harvests – prompting Coalwell to consider starting the markets at the VFW post sometime in May.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if crops progressed more than usual,” California Farm Bureau spokesman Dave Kranz said.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

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