Local Wineries Bring Tastings to Pearl Market
The Pearl Market Downtown has added two new vendors to experience on a Tuesday or Friday afternoon stroll. Central Ohio wineries Camelot Cellars and Blue Barn Winery now offer samples and bottles at Pearl Market, taking advantage of a bill that was signed into law last year allowing wineries to participate in local farmers markets.
Recruitment of the two wineries was spearheaded by Pearl Market’s new manager Dustin Speakman. He started working in that capacity in May, after leaving his role as President and CEO of Community Kitchen, an operator of two soup kitchens on the East Side. Prior to that he spent 12 years as a senior program officer for the Ohio Association of Food Banks.
“After like, 13 years in hunger and poverty, I kind of needed a change, so this seemed like a good opportunity,” Speakman said. “And we’re still supporting the community.”
“I’m really excited, and I worked hard to get some good wineries in here for our first time,” he added.
Camelot Cellars, a local producer of fruit-based wines, first opened in the Short North 11 years ago. They’ve been in Olde Towne East for the last three years, and in that time they’ve encountered past customers who didn’t know where they went or if they were even still in business.
Carmen Pomales, who works markets and events for Camelot, said their presence at the market has allowed them to reconnect with their base as well as reach out to wine buffs unaware of the winery down the street.
“What’s nice about Pearl Market is it’s right in the middle of the city, in the heart of Downtown, so it gets to the locals who are right in the area,” Pomales said. “It’s nice to let people who live close by learn about what’s in their neighborhood and learn about this winery.”
Camelot Cellars makes cameos in other markets as well, in Baltimore, Ohio and New Albany. New to the scene, though, is Wooster-based Blue Barn Winery. They opened two years ago on the family farm they’ve occupied for 20 years. Owner Brett Urian met Speakman at a farmers market conference in March, “and it seemed like a great fit for both of use, so that’s how we ended up here,” Urian said.
Starting their market participation at Pearl Market allows them to spread the Blue Barn name and bring their tasting experience to Columbus. It’s also an opportunity for people to learn more about them without making the hour and a half drive to Wooster.
Using designated tasting spaces, Pearl Market patrons can sample Camelot Cellars and Blue Barn Winery products for a few cents a taste. They sell bottles as well, and Blue Barn Winery sells theirs for a promotional price of $15, a $5 reduction from what a bottle in Wooster would cost.
They’ll be at Pearl Market when it runs every Tuesday and Friday, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.