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Manhattan Beach Farmers' Market Introduces Wine Vendor

Jul 27, 2021 08:31AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Stefan Cartlidge at the Dancing Crow Vineyards booth at the Manhattan Beach Farmers Market the farmers' market? Yes, it's a first for the Downtown Manhattan Beach Farmers' Market, which now features certified sustainable California grown wines.

Dancing Crow Vineyards, a small winemaker based in Lake County, California, is the newest vendor to join the market. On market day each Tuesday, Dancing Crow will be on hand selling its Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Cabernet, and Zinfandel wines, as well as a "field blend" from a historic vineyard. The wines range in price from $18 to $25 per bottle.

The wine is permitted to be sold at the farmers' market through an ABC (California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) permit called a Type 79 license. This allows a vineyard that grows its own grapes and produces and bottles its wine to be sold at a certified farmers’ market.

Stefan Cartlidge, Dancing Crow's director of marketing and sales and one of the four family member-employees of the vineyard, told DigMB that the Type 79 license creates a great opportunity and exposure for a small vineyard such as theirs.

Plus, he said, people who shop at a farmers' market and are looking for something nice for dinner are always thrilled to see wine for sale. 

"There’s always a look of surprise, and a kind of delight, when people ask, 'You can sell wine here?!?'" said Cartlidge. "Then they say, 'I’m so glad you’re here!' - It’s such a thrill to hear that."

"Bringing in Stefan and his family-run vineyard was a natural fit," Cynthia Rogers, market operator of the Manhattan Beach Farmers' Market told DigMB. "Similar to our small farms, this small-scale vineyard represents the best in what we are so fortunate to bring to our community - a team of farmers and vendors who have passion for what they do, and who uphold the values we aim to support here, including sustainable growing and harvesting methods."

The farmers' market is held every Tuesday in downtown Manhattan Beach at 13th and Morningside Drive from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Dancing Crow wines are sold by the bottle, as well as by the case and half-case. Cartlidge will be on hand at the Dancing Crow booth to answer questions and offer suggestions for wine pairings. 

"We're thrilled to have Stefan with us every week," added Rogers. "He comes straight from the vineyard to be with us each and every Tuesday, providing a wealth of knowledge and ideas perfect for farmers’ market pairings. Dancing Crow is truly a wonderful addition to our growing team of specialty ranchers and growers."

Dancing Crow Vineyards

Dancing Crow Vineyards is run by the Cartlidge-Forni family, which has been involved in the California wine industry for four generations. In 2013, winemaker Tony Cartlidge bought the Dancing Crow property in Lake County, California. Later, in 2018, he added the historic Old Stake 1901 Vineyard to the Dancing Crow collection. 

Lake County's unique soil and topography are said to produce idea winemaking conditions. Its volcanic soil is unusually dark and dense and good at retaining water and nutrients. Also, its proximity to both lake and mountains means that hot daytime temperatures drop dramatically at night, which helps produce high-quality grapes. 

Dancing Crow's Sauvignon Blanc in particular is unique among California wines of that varietal, with a taste that is similar to the French Sancerre wines. The Sauvignon Blanc has won several awards including "Best of Class" in the San Francisco Chronicle's 2019 wine competition.

Worth noting: All of the Dancing Crow wines are certified sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. The winegrowers use organic compounds and methods such as integrated pest management to intervene only when absolutely necessary. The team also worked with a consultant to make the vineyard a "bee sanctuary" that features bee-friendly flowers and plants that also help to keep the soil healthy.

Incidentally, the name "Dancing Crow" came about in 1998 when earlier owners Maile and Lars Field decided to plant the Sauvignon Blanc vineyard. They had taken a week to space out the 28-acre vineyard, marking each vine's location with a straw. The next day, they noticed a "murder" (a large group) of crows hopping up and down in the vineyard, appearing to "dance." However, when they looked again, they saw that all of their straws were gone. As the story goes, the owners learned two things that day: to be wary of dancing crows, and what to name their vineyard.

The Downtown Manhattan Beach Farmers' Market is a certified market, open every Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It is located at 13th and Morningside, at Metlox Plaza behind Shade Hotel. Metered parking is available in the underground Metlox parking lot or in Lot 3 at Morningside and 12th Street.

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