Benicia Main Street knows how to put on a wine walk, having organized many through the years. It also promotes downtown shopping for the holidays, especially on Small Business Saturday, which encourages people throughout the nation to patronize local shops, instead of national chains or malls. This year, Benicia Main Street is combining the two in its inaugural Wine Walk and Shop Small on Small Business Saturday, November 24.
Benicia Main Street Executive Director Nancy Martinez said she was inspired by a similar event organized last year by former executive director Leanne Peterson, across the bridge at Martinez Main Street. That event brought in 150 additional shoppers to the Martinez downtown. Benicia’s own business owners said overwhelmingly they wanted a similar event here, and Nancy Martinez listened.
The Benicia Wine Walk & Shop Small event comes during the Downtown Holiday Shopping Spree that runs the entire month of November, during which shoppers receive tickets for each $10 they spend with participating merchants. Each ticket gets added to a raffle drawing. During Wine Walk & Shop Small, merchants will give double tickets towards the drawing, the winner of which will receive $500 Downtown Dollars to spend like cash at participating downtown merchants. The prize will be awarded Dec. 7 at the Holiday Open House.
Benicia Wine Tasting at The Vintage Owl
Wine Walk and Shop Small participants will get to visit new places among about 22 involved in the event, Martinez said. Included are Grey Horse Boutique, Pink Arrows Boutique, Celestial Art and Happy Life Pottery. Shoppers also get to stop by old favorites, such as Bookshop Benicia, where high school musicians will serenade them.
Participating merchants will be pouring wine from Viano Winery in Martinez, and selections provided by Henry Wine Group from Benicia Industrial Park. Many will offer pairings with appetizers, and Benicia Main Street is no exception. “We, of course, will have See’s Candy,” Ms. Martinez said, adding that, “Wine Walk and Shop Small encourages shoppers from Benicia and other cities to explore our charming stores. I think they can find a little bit of everything,” she said. “First Street has several women’s clothing boutiques, and many gift stores with unique items.”
Benicia Wine Tasting at Lindsay Art Glass
Glen Cove Farm is in its second year in the downtown, offering Benicia-themed items, cards and unique gifts. Other stores offer candles and soaps, home décor, garden items, furniture and more. Romancing the Home’s merchandise inspires those who want to redecorate. Lindsay Art Glass has hand-blown glass objects, including Christmas tree ornaments. “There’s pricing for everybody downtown,” Martinez said, adding that Benicia gives visitors and residents a warm shopping experience. “It’s the personal service. We get to know one another by first names. You don’t always get that in big cities and department stores., and shoppers are responding to that. We are drawing people from the outside area as well as local people dedicated to downtown shopping, especially on Small Business Saturday,” she said.
Wine Walk and Shop Small will take place 1-5pm Saturday, Nov. 24. Check-in will be at 12:30pm Nov. 24 at Benicia Main Street, 90 First Street, and participants will need to bring their tickets. They will receive a commemorative wine glass printed with the Downtown Benicia Main Street logo. Tickets, $30 per person or two for $55, are available in advance at beniciamainstreet.org/benicia-events/annual/, or $35 per person the day of the event. Must be 21 to participate.