NAPA, Calif. - At Charles Krug, Napa Valley's oldest winery, wine tasting returned Tuesday for the first time in almost three months.
"It's great to invite people back again and give them a safe relief and outlet to come to," said co-owner Peter Mondavi.
But wine tasting these days is not what it used to be. For starters customers can't just drop in. People must make appointments to come.
The staff wears masks and gloves.
"It is against our grain as a hospitality person not to be able to smile and great guests directly. We trained our staff for three days prior to opening to make sure we do this properly," said winery vice-president Jim Morris.
The wineries learned last Friday they could open their tasting rooms provided they meet strict health guidelines.
Some wineries have been able to open quickly, but others will take a while to get ready.
"It is against our grain as a hospitality person not to be able to smile and greet guests directly. We trained our staff for three days prior to opening to make sure we do this properly," said Morris.
The wineries are a big part of Napa's $2.2 billion tourist industry.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy here. Hotel occupancy typically would be at 80%. Currently it's at 15% after spending the spring at 6%.
"The reality is people aren't ready to start traveling again. We understand that. We are letting them know we are ready to welcome thrm back when they are ready to visit again," said Linsey Gallagher head of Visit Napa Valley.
The tourist industry is starting a campaign to attract locals and the rest of the Bay Area to support the area, until the foreign travelers return.
"Boutique hotels, small restaurants and all those businesses are hurting. So the sooner we can start welcoming them back with safety and security in mind, the more likely those businesses will be able to survive," said Gallagher.
Wine tasting is outdoor only through Thursday. It can move inside beginning Friday.