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Highway 49 and its holiday destinations

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Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 7:53 am | Updated: 1:55 pm, Fri Dec 16, 2011.

Sing carols with locals in Victorian Nevada City

About an hour and a half from Lodi, the foothill town of Nevada City is a bustling historic town that illuminates warmth during the winter months. With snow on the hills and brisk temperatures, bundle up in coats and scarves and browse the quaint and historic downtown area.

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GALT -- Galt’s very own Barsetti Vineyards wants to open the city’s first wine tasting room, and is looking at commercial space on the ground floor of Galt Place.

Although the project still requires city council approval, winery owners Richard and Janis Barsetti Gray have been quietly contemplating opening a tasting room in Galt for the last several years.

Barsetti Gray, who worked for the Hertz Corporation for 35 years, is a Galt native. Her dad, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews and she all graduated from Galt High School.

But she and her husband, who worked for United Airlines for 33 years, are natural travels.

“Yet the more we travel, the more we keep discovering just how much we love my hometown,” Barsetti Gray said.

“Galt is where both the roots of my family and the roots of our vineyard are. Sure, we could just retire, but we would rather continue working to bring benefits to ourselves and hopefully to our hometown.”

Last week, the Planning Commission unanimously voted to allow wine tasting in the downtown area, clearing the way for a tasting room to open. The city council is scheduled to vote on the change May 6.

To allow tasting rooms required an amendment to the Downtown Revitalization and Historic Preservation Specific Plan that would permit wine tasting in commercial land use areas on C Street, from Civic Drive to west of Lincoln Way, and on Third and Fourth streets on both sides of the railroad tracks.

Currently, wine tasting is only permitted in the Historic Business District, also known as Old Town.

But officials believe the city can capitalize on the increasing number of area wineries by allowing them to market and sell their products within city limits.

Barsetti Gray envisions more tasting rooms opening in downtown Galt with the hopes of the area taking on a similar feel as Lodi’s School Street, she said.

“I really feel like it could be great. I was down there on a Saturday recently and you couldn’t find a parking place.”

The business owner said with several tasting rooms in downtown Galt, she visualizes limousines filled with people that also want to eat at a restaurant or visit a quaint downtown shop.

“I want to be on that ground level (of changes) with Galt,” said Barsetti Gray, who is an active member of the Galt Historical Society. “It could be the beginning of something exciting for Galt.”

She remembers the real Old Town with its historic buildings and downtown train stop, and said she is excited to be part of that section of town.

“Galt is a hidden treasure that just needs more people to believe in it,” grape grower and former Galt District Chamber of Commerce executive director Frank Gayaldo said in a press release. “I strongly support Richard and Janis’ passion for Galt, and therefore will do my part to see this effort succeed.”

Barsetti Vineyards’ century-old roots run deep in Galt. Janis' grandfather, Gottardo Barsetti, came to Amercia from the southern part of Switzerland in 1903 and settled in Galt in 1912. In 1941, Janis' father and grandparents bought the property where the vineyard exists today, according to its website.

Up until 1995, when the vineyard was planted, the land supported dairy, beef cattle and crop operation. The birth of Barsetti Vineyards as a wine label was in 2001.

The couple has traveled the world promoting the Lodi Appellation, which covers the Galt region, Gayaldo said.

“They are two of the most passionate and generous global wine ambassadors and small business advocates that I have ever met. Despite all their traveling, Richard and Janis’ hearts have always remained in Janis’ hometown of Galt.”

Barsetti Gray agreed. “Because I was raised here and this is my home, this seems like the appropriate place for us to have a tasting room.”

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