WESTFIELD, NJ — Picking up a meal at Vine Ripe Markets now can also be an opportunity to pick up some vino.

Frank Bruno, a partner at Vine Ripe Markets, said the store had longed to be a one-stop-shop for customers putting together dinner, but securing a liquor license proved an elusive task.

A new arrangement through an outlet license, however, will allow the Washington State Winery, Reasons Wine, to offer its portfolio of wines at Vine Ripe Markets, 430 North Avenue East, Bruno said.

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“For some of the heavier dishes, your cabernet will be the most popular,” Bruno said. “For the fish dishes, the white wines are a good compliment.”

John Barton, the chief grape counter at Reasons Wine, visited Vine Ripe Markets along with his fellow winemakers recently to help familiarize customers with the product new to the specialty grocer.

The varieties offered include a cabernet sauvignon, a red blend called Red Excuses and a white wine its makers call White Lies.

While Barton keeps count of the finances, Ned Morris, the chief grape crusher, keeps the wine flowing at the winery in Walla Walla, Washington.

Nuance is key to the wine making endeavor, Barton explained: “He wants his wines to be a lead cast member in a great show, not the star of the show.”

The winemaker describes White Lies as having the aromas of tropical fruits including banana, kiwi, honeydew melon and pear. It also gives off bright floral notes, the winemaker says.

Red Excuses, the winery says, has an aroma rich with dark fruit and provides a plush and velvety mouth feel with layers of vanilla.

Bruno said representatives from the winery are set return to Vine Ripe Markets to offer more free samples. He also hopes to incorporate the wine into the store’s mozzarella making classes.

Of course, Bruno first had to assure the product was up to snuff and so made sure to taste it himself.

“You know I can’t sell a product unless I approve of it, and I’m not just saying this because I sell it,” Bruno said. “The wine is very good. It’s a Washington state grape. It has the subtleness of the West Coast.”

If you imbibe

What: Wine is available at Vine Ripe Markets in cabernet sauvignon, red and white varieties.
Address: Vine Ripe Markets is located at 430 North Avenue East in Westfield.
Price Points: $14.99 - $29.99

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh