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California Winery Tasting Rooms Begin to Reopen in Time for Summer Sipping
Enjoy the Vines, Vistas and Wines with Some Changes[caption id="attachment_1471459" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Visitors enjoy vineyard views, good weather and wine tasting outdoors, where tables are physically distanced and appointment-only tastings control the flow of guests. Iron Horse Vineyards photo.[/caption] SAN FRANCISCO — California wine lovers have good reason to raise their glasses; on June 12, wineries were given the green light by the state to reopen their tasting rooms to visitors in approved counties. Tasting room experiences will look a bit different this summer, but California wine country’s natural beauty and world-class wines are as spectacular as ever. Protecting the health and safety of their visitors and employees is a top priority for California vintners. Wineries have implemented stringent cleaning and sanitation protocols as well as employee wellness screenings and the use of face coverings among other practices. Visitors can expect to see several changes during their next California wine country excursion:
- Visitor flow will be monitored. Vintners are limiting the number of guests who are allowed to visit at any one time. This helps wineries maintain physical distancing and creates a more intimate atmosphere for guests. They are also limiting group sizes.
- Tables are spaced to meet the six-foot physical distancing requirements and give visitors plenty of room to relax and enjoy the experience.
- Tastings are moving outdoors. California wine country is known for its gorgeous vineyards and beautiful winery estates, so it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy the views. Many wineries have moved tables outside to ensure proper spacing between tables or are offering outdoor-only tastings. Some are also featuring fresh-air activities such as private vineyard hikes and curated picnics. Check winery websites or call ahead for the latest offerings.
- Tours have gone private. Wineries are limiting tour groups to members of the same household, so different parties will not be mixed together. This results in a more personalized experience for participants.
- Masks are in fashion. Guests are asked to wear face coverings while checking in or when coming within six feet of winery staff and other guests. Masks are generally not required while seated or tasting.
- Reservations are highly encouraged. To help control the flow of visitors, wineries are asking guests to book tasting appointments. Calling ahead also gives visitors the opportunity to find out about any special tastings or experiences the winery is offering. Guests should also check with wineries in advance for county-specific requirements. As always, please stay home and reschedule your visit if you or anyone in your party is unwell.
# # #Journalists requiring further information should contact the Wine Institute Communications Dept.