Just maybe the wine country will open later this year. Wineries and tasting rooms are making plans for the day they will be allowed to open their doors to tourists and wine country fans. What will tasting rooms look like when that occurs?
The Wine Institute and the Napa Valley Vintners are working on a set of protocols to open tasting rooms. In this scenario, your trip to the tasting room could look like this.
The tasting room of the future?
You will make an appointment online with one or more wineries. You will sign a waiver and consent form.
There will be a list of tasting options for your perusal. Or, you might like to order a glass of wine or a bottle of wine and enjoy the vineyard views. You will prepay for your visit.
There will also be a list of precautions the winery is taking for sanitizing the tasting room, tables, glasses, and the like. You’ll need to wear a mask, except while sipping wine.
When you arrive at the winery, there will be a drive-through area. The winery staff will check your reservation, tell you where to park, and assign you to a table. They may also take your temperature and ask about your state of health.
Your glass and/or bottle of wine will be waiting for you, chilled and ready to taste. The server will be the appropriate distance away and walk you through the tastings. If there is food included, it will likely be crackers or breadsticks in wrapped packages. I wonder if we’ll be able to bring our own picnic lunch to enjoy outdoors.
It is likely that wineries will be more aggressive in pushing their wine clubs. The wine club is important because it is direct to consumer and provides the most profit for the winery.
If you order wine for purchase, it will be a paperless transaction.
Will this be a day trip, and how many tasting rooms will travelers visit in an outing? If it is an overnight trip, what are the considerations for lodging and dining?
It is more likely that the tasting room experience will be more for the serious wine drinkers. The typical fun and socializing while tasting wine will be lost.
Will the tasting room experience under this situation be enjoyable enough for return visits to wine country?
We look forward to the day when we will be able to visit tasting rooms. The big question is, when that happens, will people come to the wine country and be comfortable in the tasting room? That is an unknown, and there are many factors controlling the opening of tasting rooms and restaurants. Will there be fewer cases of Coronavirus, or will there be another spike in the Fall?
All factors point to a long period of time before a tasting room will look like it did pre Coronavirus.
Sonoma’s Wine Road
I think this is a very entertaining video in Sonoma that is part of the Wine Road association. Watch it and support these wineries.