Wayland Selectmen Seek Details Before Approving Farmers’ Market Wine Sales

Wayland Selectmen Monday night held off on approving temporary liquor licenses for two wineries interested in offering tastings during the Winter Farmers’ Market at Russell’s Garden Center, reports patch.com

The wineries, Still River Winery out of Harvard, Mass., and Westport Rivers Inc. out of Westport, Mass., each requested a one-day liquor license for wine to be sampled and sold for off-premises consumption on Saturdays only from Jan. 7, 2012, to March 10, 2012, at the Wayland Winter Farmers’ Market.

The requests are virtually identical to other liquor license requests selectmen have previously approved, which, selectmen said, is largely their concern.

“I’m just concerned with the frequency,” said board chair Tom Fay.

Town Administrator Fred Turkington estimated that the approval of these liquor licenses would mean Russell’s Garden Center would host businesses offering samples and sales of alcohol for 40 weeks out of a 52-week, yearlong period.

“Forty weeks out of the year seems a bit much to me,” selectmen John Bladon said.

Selectmen stressed that they do not want to inhibit local business, but said they would like a representative from Russell’s to speak with them about the details of the wineries’ presence at the Winter Farmers’ Market.

In mid-2010, Massachusetts legislature approved the sale of local wines at farmers’ markets. The operators of the markets must obtain liquor licenses from the local city or town in which they wish to sell. Initially, most communities approved the sale for one day at a time, not the entire season, which was the case for a Jan. 29, 2011, Wine Day at the Winter Farmers’ Market.

Patch.com reports that in June 2011, Wayland selectmen approved a seasonal liquor license for three wineries to participate in the Summer Farmers’ Market at Russell’s. It was the first time that selectmen had approved a seasonal license rather than a one-time license. The three wineries did not all serve in the same week, but rotated their appearances at the Summer Farmers’ Market.

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