Wine isn’t exactly an item farmer’s market shoppers might expect to see as they buy their local strawberries, greens, and eggs. With over 30 wineries located in all parts of Massachusetts (including Cape Cod), local wines are growing in popularity despite their small operations, resources, and restrictive sales tools. Luckily, laws have changed allowing wine to be sold at farmer’s markets garnering more local attention and support.
Last summer, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Environment and Agriculture Committee granted farmers the ability to apply to local liquor boards for temporary licenses to sell and sample wine at community events including farmers markets. “On August 5, 2010, Governor Patrick signed S 2582: An Act Relative to Economic Development Reorganization that provides for the sale of wine from a licensed farm winery at approved agricultural events in Massachusetts.”
Boston-area vineyards selling their wines at local farmers markets include Turtle Creek, Westport Rivers, and Zoll Cellars. The most common grape varieties grown in Massachusetts include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.
At the markets, winemakers sample small pours of their wines to shoppers; this environment creates instant feedback from customer to winemaker. That type of conversation does not happen often in a typical retail setting at a wine shop. Getting local wines in front of customers that care and support local farmers opens up a new target audience of shoppers who might not be familiar with local wines. Most Massachusetts vineyards are small operations and rely on word-of-mouth exposure to gain acceptance and purchasing preference over larger or more popular winemakers.
Marketing wines directly to a local audience cuts out the middleman and creates awareness during the “off season” of the markets. During the winter months when farmers markets are out-of-season, customers buying wine at their favorite wine shop will be more aware of local Massachusetts vineyards.
Here are just a few places in the Boston area to purchase local wines:
417 Hixbridge Rd # C
Westport, MA 02790-1316
110 Old Mill Road
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
28 Beaver Pond Rd
Lincoln MA 01773
For additional information, visit the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources or Massachusetts Farm Wineries and Growers Association.
A Southern girl born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Emily Olson is pursuing a master’s degree in gastronomy at Boston University. On the weekends, she can be found at farmer’s markets, wine tastings,and testing new recipes in her kitchen all documented on her blog whatemilycooks.com