Those of you like me who are wine lovers are probably wondering what it’s like to Wine Taste during COVID? I can tell you the experiences I’ve had which will hopefully reassure you to feel safe and protected if you decide to venture out to Wine Country whether in California, Washington, or Oregon the three states I’ve wine tasted during COVID 19 Times. A few things to know prior to your visit.
Visitors & Winery Staff must wear a mask
As the norm across the country and the globe, masks are required to visit wineries. Guests will arrive wearing it and then once seated in your own designated space you’re allowed to take it off as you eat and drink. Note that the winery teams will keep their mask on the entire team.
Purell stations and sanitizer stations throughout
Another thing we’ve all gotten very familiar with during COVID days is an excessive amount of Purell and sanitizer stations throughout wineries, hotels, and restaurants. Shown below is Hospitality Director Maggie at Three Sticks Wines Sonoma. Read more about Three Sticks Wines on the blog here.
Wine tastings pre-poured by the staff
During COVID times and new legal measurements by state guests can expect to have the wines pre-poured for you so when you sit down they’ll be there greeting you. This decreased the contact with the winery staff and also guests can then taste themselves at a social distance from the winery staff.
The new tasting experience at Three Sticks Wines in Sonoma is similar to how it was done before except that currently (as of July, 2020) it’s all outside. As you’ll see the wines are pre-poured and covered so when you arrive they’re not exposed to the air and other natural disturbances. The host also joins you but from a distance with a mask of course.
Outdoor seating options
It seems most people are most comfortable with outside seatings for winery visits (this is also important by state where some states aren’t allowing inside seating). I recently enjoyed some great outdoor wine tastings in Oregon, Washington & California including fun picnic table setups, fire pits, and more. Each winery really is doing such a great job at customizing the tastings to feel authentic to their hospitality experience while also making guests feel safe to visit and wine taste. See some that I’ve experienced below!
My picnic tasting with Evening Land in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Each guest was welcomed with the wines pre-poured, hand sanitizer available, and our hosts wearing masks as they hosted us. This is a Winery in The Willamette Valley you MUST experience if you want some of the best wines in the region and these magnificent vineyard views. They also have a tasting room experience but after enjoying the vineyard tasting that would be where I suggest you try if you love to see where the grapes come from and learn about the terroir and the geeky winemaking details (as I love to learn).
Another fabulous Sonoma Winery I suggest you plan a visit to is Blue Farm Wines. This is owned by the talented Winemaker Anne Moller-Racke. Read about my interview with Anne here. She was at Donum Estate for 20+ years leading their vineyard & winemaking team and Blue Farm Wines is her brand which has some of the most elegant, well done, balanced wines in Sonoma. They were also a part of Pinots & Plaid and make truly exceptional wine. Be sure to tell them we sent you if you plan a visit!
The wines I tasted at an outdoor tasting at Freeman Winery. Learn more about this Sonoma gem here and plan a visit to their Winery for an outdoor tasting.
Self Serve Food Options
Wineries that I visited in Oregon were allowed to serve guests food, however, it was repacked and guests would serve themselves. So far in California from what I’ve seen there isn’t much food served at wineries during the new COVID times.
Prepackaged food at Chehalem Winery’s Tasting Room which I enjoyed during my testing.