Christiansburg Farmers Market adding winery, among other growth

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) The farmers market in Christiansburg is getting an all new kind of vendor: a winery.

Thursday marks the third year of the Christiansburg Farmers Market, and they've continued to grow on Hickock Street since year one.

Now they'll have wine sales here, but that's not the only growth they'll be seeing in downtown.

Farmers Market Manager Sarah Belcher explained, "What we're planning on doing is the last Thursday of every month holding, almost, a mini festival or mini event down here. We want to bring in some prepared food vendors in addition to the food truck we will have every week, we want to make sure we have live music."

Also new in 2017 will be Whitebarrel Winery, which has been at events like Christiansburg's Christmas at the Market or Food Truck Rally. But this will be the first time they're regularly selling at the market.

Whitebarrel Winer Owner Richard Obiso said, "We've had very good success with pretty much everything Christiansburg does. We really enjoy how they relate to the community, how they relate to small businesses."

But this won't violate open container laws. People will buy tastings of wine and then purchase the bottles to bring home.

Obiso said, "We're going to bring a few of our wines, some sweet wines, some of our dry wines, and we're going to probably trade them out every few weeks so that everyone that's going to the farmers market that don't typically come here will get a good selection of wines."

Christiansburg said the town didn't need any special permits for the alcohol. Whitebarrel Winery handled that.

"All farm wineries are allowed five remote licenses," Obiso explained. "As long as Virginia ABC approves and agrees, we can pretty much poor wine anywhere from your house to the post office to farmers markets."

And with an all-new kind of concept in a continually growing farmers market, this could be just a start.

"That's exactly what we would hope, just to grow it, think outside the box a little bit," Belcher said. "Businesses that are still agriculture related, but not typical just corn and tomatoes, even though there's nothing wrong with those kinds of vendors."

When asked about other alcohol vendors, like breweries, coming to the market, Belcher said there's actually Virginia legislation, which is being discussed now to repeal, that bans breweries at farmers markets.

The market runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Thursday starting May 4 through October 26.