Currently, bars and wineries are considered under the same phase of reopening and it may cause local wineries to stay closed for longer than they believe is right.
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The South Bay has some of the oldest and best wineries in the state, including Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill.
"My grandparents founded it and bought the original ranch house in 1925," Guglielmo Winery General Manager Gene Guglielmo said. "Everything comes from the grapes, so we have the environment to grow world-class grapes and turn them into wine."
But for the first time in 95 years, their grounds have been empty due to the shelter-in-place orders, something the Guglielmo family has never seen.
When Governor Gavin Newsom recommended that Santa Clara County bars stayed closed, that includes wineries. The owners that I spoke with said that could be detrimental to the South Bay wine business that is already struggling behind the North Bay. https://t.co/4BmMorGiz1 pic.twitter.com/Y7PmbtRtCg— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) June 30, 2020
They fear changes may change the landscape of their industry.
"We're a relational business, so it's going to be really difficult to see how we're going to be able to keep that relationship going as far as tasting and reopening while staying safe," Guglielmo Winery Tasting Room manager Gena Guglielmo said.
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A way they will be safe is through the state and county guidelines that wineries must follow.
These include changing wine glasses after each taste, social distancing tasting tables, moving tasting rooms outside and more.
In addition to distancing tables and moving them outside, wineries also have to change the glass each time they do a tasting, spend less time explaining wines at the table and, of course, require masks on property. All changes owners are getting used to. https://t.co/4BmMorGiz1 pic.twitter.com/wiA5jSaI87— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) June 30, 2020
"We just want to provide and create a place where it still feels like it did before all of this had happened," Guglielmo Winery customer relations and offsite sales manager Angelia Guglielmo said. "We want to provide a safe environment for people, who might still be a little weary about being going out in public and being around people, and want to go out, want to support the community and support those local businesses."
Guglielmo Winery has already started to put in the work to make their outdoor tasting room COVID-19 friendly.
But after recent recommendations from Governor Gavin Newsom, reopening may not be as soon as they once thought.
Guglielmo Winery is one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in the South Bay. Since 1925, they have done things a certain way, but #COVID19 has changed all that. They have been working on changing their outdoor event space into a tasting room to stay up with regulations. pic.twitter.com/tsW7tvWhuM— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) June 30, 2020
State officials asked eight counties Sunday to issue health orders that would keep Santa Clara County bars and wineries closed due to rising coronavirus cases.
Wineries of Santa Clara Valley Association President Geoff Mace says this could lead to further economic impact to the South Bay wine region.
"As other counties are opening up, people are leaving and taking their dollars elsewhere and to the neighboring counties," Mace said. "I think it's important to make the distinction between an indoor bar where you have a lot of folks gathering, listening to music, talking loudly, compared to a very quiet and relaxed wine tasting. It's just not the same. So, we're hoping our county officials will hear that and recognize that."
It's easy to lump wineries and bars together due to the consumption and sale of alcohol, but Wineries of Santa Clara Valley Association President Geoff Mace says the two could not be more different and that should be considered when talking reopening. https://t.co/4BmMorXTXB pic.twitter.com/BYeSO251lx— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) June 30, 2020
Mace says all wineries in the association plan on following county guidelines to ensure the safest return to tasting when that time comes.
Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody previewed her plans earlier this week for the next phase of reopening that will come in the beginning of July.
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