As America’s wineries are re-opening, you can expect there to be some changes. And the “rules” won’t be the same from state to state.
For some recent observations on this topic, click here.
It likely will be a while until we can once again simply find a winding “wine trail” and drop in at the estates whose names or architecture or gardens seem inviting.
As an example, Caesar Creek Vineyards, located near New Jasper, Ohio, opened its doors at 2 p.m. on the 4th of July. However, its tasting room was closed and tasting flights were not available.
The reason for that was obvious: It would have been impossible to enforce social distancing around the tasting bar.
Instead, the winery staff set up a table at the front door where guests could order either a glass or a bottle of wine. Picnic tables adjacent to the tasting room were spaced out, and a sign asked guests not to move them.
Although it was a typically humid July afternoon, drinking wine outside (and in the shade) was certainly better than not being allowed to drink wine at all.
Everyone acted responsibly, from the staff donning their facemasks to the guests maintaining social distancing. Piped-in music replaced live music, and everyone seemed to be having a fine time.
By the way, visiting a winery in a state such as Ohio can provide photo-ops not found in the Napa Valley, Sonoma County or other well-known California growing regions.
Check out the accompanying picture: The vineyards at Caesar Creek Winery are planted in the best locations on the property — right next to corn and beans. That scene alone would have been worth the visit, even if the wines hadn’t been as well made as they were.
Now, more than ever, planning your trip to wine country in advance is a good idea. Identify the estates you’d like to visit, and then give them a call to confirm they’re open and will be able to accommodate you.
Who knows? There could be a unique photo-op awaiting.