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Lodi Readying For Farmers Market Wine Tasting Rules

LODI (CBS13) — Fresh vegetables with a fine wine.

Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law allowing wineries to sell their wine at farmers markets. The catch is only one winery can offer tastings at each weekly farmers market.

In the city of Lodi, this opportunity is both exciting and overwhelming with more than 90 wineries.

"At our farmers market, you'll see five thousand people in a three-block span," said Lodi Chamber of Commerce president Pat Patrick. "It rocks."

Last year, Lodi's Chamber of Commerce took over the farmers market and planted the idea with state officials to allow wineries.

"We asked the question, because to be a certified grower at a farmers market, whatever you're selling has to be produced and processed on your property," said Patrick.

The city of Lodi had already found a way to incorporate its wine with its farmers market by setting up a wine garden on a side street from the market, but on Tuesday it became legal to allow wineries inside.

"I'll think we'll get more one-on-one with people," said Weibel Family Winery manager, Judi Baumbach. "We can't offer tastings at the wine garden, just glasses or bottles, so that's awesome. Every winery here, I think, will be really excited about it."

"It's going to make things a lot more interesting," said Top Water Cafe owner, Matt Halecky, who said his business benefits from being near the market. "It's great to start seeing some of the wineries to showcase what they're doing as well."

There is a catch. Only one winery at a time can offer tastings at the weekly farmers market. Vendors and the Chamber of Commerce said it expects come complications in making the opportunity fair for all of Lodi's 90-plus wineries.

"That would be a bit of a challenge right now," said Patrick.

"So we're probably going to have to stand in line and take numbers down at the chamber in order to get our hands on doing a booth," said Baumbach.

Also the wine booth will still have to comply with the alcohol and beverage control standards, which requires a closed off area. Not an easy find in the already crowded market.

"Every 13 feet there's a different farmer and a pop up tent," said Patrick.

A tight squeeze for vintners, but they said it's worth a spot in the popular farmers market.

At least one local winery said it will be placing a bid to get into the farmers market before the close of the season in September.

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