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Wineries will continue tastings by appointment with plastic glass due to COVID-19; Big challenge – how to smell and taste with a mask

When news first hit about the COVID-19 outbreak, Susie Selby did not anticipate how much it would permanently change how she runs her winery in Healdsburg.

“I can’t even imagine hosting a tasting room again,” Selby told the Southern California Record.

“We’re being so careful now that we only accept credit cards over the phone and then for curbside sales, we leave the wine on the sidewalk and watch as our clients drive by and pick it up.”

Selby’s winery is among the 4,613 that are currently operating in the state, according to Statista.

“Tasting rooms will probably be by appointment-only going forward because we’re all required to limit how many people are in a group at one time,” she said.

In addition to appointment-only wine tastings, Attorney John Holdredge foresees disposable wine glasses and sanitizing before and after each wine tasting group comes through.

“There was, at one point, discussions about all clients coming into a tasting room being temperature screened,” Holdredge told the Southern California Record. “But because of some push back on that idea,  it will likely only be an expectation for employees.”

While Gov. Gavin Newsom has eased restrictions for low-risk retailers, stay at home orders are still active and tasting rooms remain closed along with bars, nightclubs and brewpubs. As a result, wineries have been forced to find new ways to bring wines to consumers.