Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 15, 2013

Ordinance Brewing

City Council eyes ways to regulate spirit sales at farmers markets


Somerset —

Girdler during Monday’s meeting said the city has fielded a number of calls from those interested in selling wine at local markets, and he said the city is even receiving applications for additional farmers’ markets. 
“There’s been a glut of farmers market applications submitted ... the only intent of it is to sell wine at farmers’ markets,” Girdler said during Monday’s meeting. “We can’t have wine sales at every corner.” 
As a result of those concerns, the council on Monday voted unanimously — minus Councilor Tom Eastham, who was absent — to ban wine sales at local farmers’ markets for the time being. 
Girdler said he’s even met with a local winery about pursuing a new ordinance that could allow regulated wine sales at local farmers’ markets.
Jeff Wiles, owner of Cedar Creek Vineyards, confirmed on Tuesday that they had spoken with city officials about a new ordinance, but he declined to provide details. 
Still, Wiles said he hopes the lines of communication will remain open. Wiese said she’s hopeful the city can work through new regulations with the help of local wineries.
“We wanted to be able to sit down with those wineries and work with them,” said Wiese. 
Wiese said an ideal solution would result in wineries being able to sell at farmers’ markets, but only under city regulations.
“They’ll be able to sell, but we’ll be able to regulate it just like we do the other businesses,” said Wiese. “The resolution was a temporary fix and it’s to everyone’s benefit to be able to regulate this and work with the businesses.”
Girdler on Monday emphasized that the resolution isn’t the end of the road for farmers’ market wine sales. 
“It’s not necessarily the end of the story because the council has the right to come back and set into place certain regulations that will permit that,” said Girdler. “We were just concerned about the number of farmers markets that were intending to sell wine in the city limits.”
Councilor John Ricky Minton asked that Girdler reiterate that statement.
“So we will be working on something?” asked Minton.
Girdler affirmed that.

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