Opening a store that specializes in oil and vinegar seems like a pretty niche business venture, especially when you are trying to open in the middle of a pandemic. But owners John and Kelly Zucco say the pandemic is one of the reasons they decided to open Ripe from the Vine in 2020.

The couple has been taking an annual trip to Florida for many years. Each time they go, they make it a point to visit a little oil and vinegar place in Punta Gorda in Fishermen's Village. They'd inevitably fill up a suitcase of olive oil for the return trip home.

In the early summer, Kelly was lamenting that there would be no Florida trip this year, and as a result, none of the pure olive oil they have grown to love. She started researching the importer of the olive oil that had spoiled her tastebuds.

Eventually, John and Kelly decided to open up a store to sell the rare product.

Michael Rock/Townsquare Media

"During the pandemic, people aren't going anywhere," John Zucco said. "More and more people are cooking at home now instead of going out to eat."

What is the difference between olive oil sold at a supermarket and the olive oil at Ripe from the Vine? The Zuccos told us that a majority of the olive oil that is sold in stores is often mixed with lesser grade oils from seeds and soybean.

"What we provide is the purest you can get," Kelly Zucco said. Some of their oils test out at 97 percent pure.

The olive oil sold at Ripe from the Vine isn't imported from just one country, but rather from all around the world. The importer does what is called "chasing the crush," bringing in olives from both the southern and northern hemispheres. This means that whatever is in season will be featured at Ripe from the Vine.

The couple spent three months preparing to open Ripe from the Vine at a store in Marion Marketplace on the corner of Route 6 and Point Road.  The grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for tomorrow, November 13, at 2 p.m.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app