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Napa Valley winery turns to ‘virtual tastings’ during COVID-19 crisis

By March 25, 2020 No Comments
If social distancing has you feeling too distant from your favorite wine, St. Supery Estate Vineyard & Winery in Rutherford is now offering Thursday "virtual tastings" through April 23. (Photo by Kumweni/Flickr)

When Gov. Gavin Newsom called for the closure of bars, taprooms and winery tasting rooms to limit the transmission of COVID-19 coronavirus, a Napa Valley winery decided to hold weekly virtual wine tastings through April 23.

St. Supery Estate Vineyards & Winery in Rutherford started the tastings March 19.

“One of our winemakers will host the chat on Zoom each Thursday and recordings will be made available if you can’t join in. We feel Zoom is the best platform to facilitate a more interactive session,” St. Supery Estate Vineyards & Winery CEO Emma Swain said.

“With improvements in technology we are able to engage more directly with our customers than in the past,” Swain said.

Since Newsom’s order, the public health officers of all nine Bay Area counties have issued shelter at home orders that allow only essential businesses to remain open and essential activities to continue.

The orders allow vineyard management, production operations, bottling, warehousing digital sales, delivery and shipping but not wine tasting or events in compliance with Newsom’s order.

The Napa Valley Vintners Association supports Newsom’s order to close wineries’ “visitor facing operations,” visitor centers and tasting rooms.

“The NVV will also engage with state and federal representatives to advocate for actions to minimize the impact on all businesses, employees and communities, including augmenting unemployment assistance. The NVV will move forward with new marketing promotions to encourage enjoyment of wine at home and take-out from local restaurants,” the association said.