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Napa Valley Wineries Reopen for Visitors

Napa Valley Wineries Reopen for Visitors
August 12, 2020 Terry Bouzakis
In Food & Wine

As Wine Country reopens during the Covid-19 era, you may be wondering if it’s safe to visit Napa Valley. While the decision to venture out is entirely up to you — everyone is responsible for his/her own safety — we can assure you that businesses throughout Napa Valley and Sonoma County are adhering to the latest health and safety protocols and the Wine Country community is doing everything possible to reduce the transmission of the virus.

If and when you do choose to spend a day or weekend in Napa Valley soon, you will be welcomed with open arms (figuratively, of course), but just know that your visit will look a bit differently. To help you navigate the new Napa experience, here are a few key guidelines and things to expect as wineries reopen

(View Napa Valley Wineries Open)

Masks Required Face coverings are now required when inside any public place or business, as well as outside when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. This applies to restaurants and wineries, but once seated you’ll be able to remove your mask to sip or eat normally.

Physical Distancing is Mandatory Whenever you are in a public place, maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other people outside your party is required.

Expect Reduced Interactions  Less contact with servers and tasting room hosts will become the norm moving forward. Don’t be surprised to find hand-held menus replaced by those posted on a chalkboard, waters and wine pre-poured before your arrival, and other measures like contactless ordering from your phone to limit interactions between customers and servers. Many Napa wineries and restaurants will also have contactless payment systems available for tastings, food purchases, and bottles to-go.

Be Patient & Stay Flexible  The Covid-19 environment is new to all of us, so it’s best to be patient and flexible when it comes to venturing out and about in Napa Valley. Businesses are operating under new processes and guidelines — some of which change daily — and many of these establishments are reopening after having been closed for months

Tastings by Appointment  While many Napa Valley wineries have used an appointment-only model for years, you will now have to make a reservation in advance before visiting. This is mandatory as it will help the wineries monitor customer flow to ensure they are operating at a reduced capacity for safety reasons.

Small Groups Only  Time to book that long-awaited party bus with your friends? Not so fast. Many wineries are restricting group sizes to four to six people, so check with each winery when booking.

Socially Distant Wine Tasting  Crowded tasting rooms with standing-room only bars are a thing of the past. Tastings will take place in personal tasting areas at least six feet from other groups and as of Thursday, July 9, all tastings will be required to be held OUTDOORS.