Bringing olive oil to Marion, ‘Ripe from the Vine’
MARION — Bottles nestled neatly on hardwood shelves, a tasting bar, and gift baskets complete with breads from Forno Bakery. Sounds like a winery, right?
But Ripe from the Vine on 119 Wareham Road isn’t a winery, it’s a new specialty olive oil and vinegar store that owners John and Kelly Zucco said came about during the pandemic.
Patrons are allowed to taste any of the 60 oils and vinegars in the store, with help and expertise from the Zuccos.
“If you’re not familiar with olive oil, we can provide some help,” Kelly said.
The Zuccos have taken classes with their supplier, and know the ins and outs of all the available flavors.
Kelly is a self-proclaimed foodie, and she would pick up olive oils and vinegars from a store she found while visiting her parents in Florida.
But that meant stocking up only once or twice per year, so she decided to do some research and find out where else she could get the oils and vinegars.
She found the importer and decided to make a business out of packaging and selling them.
But the Ripe from the Vine does a lot more than packaging and selling.
“The first question we ask is ‘have you ever been to a store like this before?’” Kelly said.
Patrons are given a stack of small paper cups to use for tasting, and tasting bottles are equipped with no-touch tops that open and seal using gravity.
“We never even have to touch the top,” Kelly said.
She said the bottle tops were a precaution that resulted from the pandemic.
At first, the Zuccos weren’t even sure whether they would be able to allow patrons to test the products.
“We were prepared not to,” Kelly said.
But after they laid out their plan to the Board of Health, including a wipe down of bottles and surfaces multiple times a day, they were good to go.
In the future, the Zuccos hope to be able to host tasting events and demonstrations in the store, and they’re beginning to make relationships with Tri-Town chefs who are interested in using Ripe from the Vine’s oils and vinegars.
“It would be great to get our product in the hands of local chefs and local restaurants,” Kelly said.
From basics like salad dressing to martini recipes including dark chocolate vinegar, the Zuccos are also looking to put out recipes on the Ripe from the Vine website once it’s finished.
They’re also hoping to contribute gift baskets to things like fundraising auctions. Kelly runs the Showstoppers, a non-profit a capella group, and she said she wants Ripe from the Vine to contribute to the Tri-Town’s small business culture.
“The community supports your business and you give back to them,” she said.
And so far, business has been steady for the Zuccos.
But between long hours getting the store ready and Kelly’s job as a therapist, she said the buildup to the store’s opening was hectic.
“We’re doing everything ourselves,” Kelly said, from putting the store together to building a new website.
They said that on the first days of business, they had to enforce a capacity of 9 people total in the store to maintain proper social distance.
Beyond oils and vinegars, the shop also stocks beauty products made from the olive oils, spices, and breads from Forno Bakery.
“A lot of heart and soul went into this place,” Kelly said.