Napa County has given wineries the go-ahead to reopen their tasting rooms to the public. Wineries and tasting rooms have been shuttered for on-premise wine tastings since March 15.
“The impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been devastating for all businesses, and especially for the small businesses which make up the vast majority of wineries in Napa Valley,” Napa Valley Vintner President and CEO Linda Reiff said in a written statement Friday. Reopening tasting rooms would “provide much-needed jobs” for community members, she added.
As wineries and tasting rooms get the all-clear to reopen, some changes have been made to protect winery staff and guests. We know you are excited to get back into tasting rooms to discover something new, but remember that being safe will need to be a collaborative effort. Here are five simple tips to make sure you have an enjoyable time visiting.
1. Create a plan. Once you decide where you’d like to go, be sure to call or email the wineries and restaurants to make appointments and discuss the experience. Even if you have been to the winery previously, the experience, hours, reservation requirements, and amenities may be different. Some wineries will limit the number of winery visitors at any time and minimize interactions between different groups of customers by requiring reservations prior to arrival. Most wineries are limiting groups to 6 people, or sometimes fewer. In other cases, pets may not be allowed on property.
2. Follow the rules. Follow the recommended safety guidelines by wearing a face covering and social distancing while visiting wineries and downtown areas. Each winery and tasting room will have a posted procedure. Some may require you to sign a liability waiver upon arrival. If you are not comfortable with posted rules, you may want to visit a different winery.
3. Be patient. This is a new experience for both wineries and you. The changes may make things run a bit slower than usual. Enjoy, appreciate, and focus on the scenery and the experience of being out and about in wine country.
4. Be clean. Please wash your hands frequently to help keep everyone safe. Tasting rooms are making changes to allow for cleaning between visits or to have no-contact tasting. The most important rule to follow is don’t visit if you are not feeling well. You don’t want to get other people in your party or winery staff sick. Plus, it won’t be fun to go wine tasting if you can’t taste anything due to illness.
5. Have fun. While it won’t be the same experience you might have had the last time you were here, wine country is ready to share its beauty, wines, food, and hospitality with you.