SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Wineries are adjusting to a new normal. It's been a couple weeks since Governor Newsom closed indoor tasting rooms.
All in all, wineries we talked to say they are making the most of a tricky situation. The good news, they said, is the wine is still flowing and people are able to taste wine safely.
Tasting rooms are allowed to remain open as long as they stay outdoors.
Some tasting rooms we talked to say they have been able to expand their footprint outside, onto sidewalks, parklets, or streets.
In some cases, this brings them close to what capacity would have been with indoor tasting.
The J. Wilkes Tasting Room says reservations are filling up quickly.
Wes Hagen, brand ambassador for J. Wilkes and the Miller Family Wine Company, said because the tasting rooms are more visible outside, they are finding that more people are discovering them.
"It's sort of like the fajita effect. When you hear the sizzling fajitas, you want some," said Hagen. "You see people drinking wine outside, having a delicious sandwich, having charcuterie and cheese, you're going to put yourself on the list."
Wine industry experts say although the professional act of tasting is better and more precise indoors, we do live in a climate which allows outdoor tasting for much of the year.
Tasting rooms we talked to are continuing to follow every rule set forth by public health. They say it is their responsibility to ensure both good wine and good health for visitors.
The J. Wilkes Tasting Room said they are receiving much positive feedback from guests regarding their extra sanitation measures.
Wine club memberships are also up for them during this time.
Wineries are encouraging everyone to drink local during this time, whether you are visiting a tasting room or having a glass of wine at home.