Tasting rooms reopen in Sonoma County — but you'll need a reservation

All brewery, winery, and distillery tasting rooms in Sonoma County can reopen, starting today, without the requirement of offering food with their drinks.
"We've been training for this moment," said Ben Fine, a Wine Educator with La Crema Winery in Sonoma County.
La Crema had been offering curbside pick up of bottles of wine, ordered online, during the COVID-19 shutdown. But now, for the first time in three months, the winery is ready to open its doors for tasting.
"Now it's time to shine and for people to be able to enjoy some wine outside - and indoors as well," he said.
There are noticeable changes for customers. At La Crema, the menus are disposable. The number of people inside at one time will be limited. Reservations are required—and timed.
"We're only going to allow certain groups in at a time, so you'll feel like you have the place to yourself," Fine said.
The Executive Director of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance, Maureen Cottingham, estimated a majority of the 110 member wineries would reopen this weekend.
Some of those member wineries, including Three Sticks Winery, Gloria Ferrer Winery, and Hamel Family Winery shared photos of their new, socially-distanced layout, markers on the floor showing 6 feet of space in lines, and staff members pouring wine with disposable gloves and masks.
There are more than 400 wineries in Sonoma County.
"Many don't have their wine out in the marketplace or in restaurants," Cottingham said. "They rely almost 100 percent on bringing in guests to their tasting rooms directly."
Sonoma County health officials announced their decision to allow tasting rooms to reopen two days ago. In an update to county supervisors, Sonoma County Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase, cautioned that COVID-19 remains a threat to public health. As of June 11, Sonoma County had 701 cases.
"We're not out of the woods. Please wear your coverings," she said.
Mase said the county will monitor potential outbreaks, and that any decisions to shut-down in the future should be specific, not industry-wide.
"I think we need to look very strategically at where we're seeing our outbreaks and target those particular businesses or activities," Mase told County Supervisors at their Wednesday meeting.
"Rather than using the blanket approach, 'now all restaurants have to shut down,' -- which doesn't make any sense moving forward," she said.
The Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance has a list of wineries that will reopen tasting rooms this weekend. See here.
Reservations are required at all tasting rooms in the county, so that staff members can limit the number of people indoors at any given time, and have time to clean and sanitize tables and equipment between customers.