• For more information call or text 585-272-9760

    • The wine industry is considered essential business, as it is a vital part of the agriculture sector, so most operations have continued unabated
    • Wine tours and tastings will be allowed to resume no sooner than mid June, when it will happen and what it will look like is a fluid situation
    • Many Finger Lakes wineries have adapted quickly to the situation in order to keep their wine flowing to customers hands and homes
    • Even when tastings and tours do reopen, some of the supporting local businesses may not be open or fully operational- call ahead

    The wine industry is an integral part of many state’s economies. The winery itself is essentially a huge grape farm, requiring constant and meticulous attention throughout the growing season.  Much of the Finger Lakes economy is heavily dependent on the wineries. In addition to the actual wineries and the products and services they provide, other area businesses are supported in large part by these wineries. Hotels, restaurants, golf courses, casinos, concert venues, and limousine and transportation companies are all integrated into this economic ecosystem. Because of the year round nature of the business and the delicate timing required to produce the best wine, most wineries and vineyards received the essential business designation, and remained open during the peak of the Covid pandemic, albeit with precautions taken (gloves and masks) to keep their customers and employees healthy.

    As of this printing, wine tours and tastings are slotted into the 3rd phase of reopening, with a target of mid June for resumed operations. For this 3rd phase to happen on time, the first 2 phases need to follow the guidelines set by state and federal agencies to slow the spread of Covid. When wine tastings and tours are allowed to resume, it may look a little different than any previous trips you’ve made. Physical distancing guidelines will be encouraged, with a suggested distance of 6 feet between you and anyone else who is not in your household. Undoubtedly, hand washing and sanitation stations will be plentiful, and you may even see more reliance on plastic cups. 

    Many changes have been implemented in the last few months by wineries in the Finger Lakes, and elsewhere. Many wineries have offered curbside pickup, as well as online sales in order to distribute their award winning wines. Some wineries are even doing virtual tours by shipping wine and cheese to a home, and then having them log in to take an interactive stroll through the winery. Necessity is the mother of invention, and these changes that were forced upon wineries this spring will serve them well, even in healthier times in the future.

    Because a wine tour and tasting can last all day, or even all weekend, be sure to look online or call ahead to verify that your preferred stops are open for business. If you are planning on spending the night, verify that your favorite bed and breakfast or hotel is taking reservations. The same goes for your favorite restaurant in the area. Even when these businesses do open, there will more than likely be restrictions on seating and occupancy, so advanced notice may be required for reservations. Better to call too early than to wait and miss out on something that you were looking forward to doing.

    Although this year’s wine season will look a little different that previous summers, with some research and early reservations, as well as common sense health precautions, that Finger Lakes wine will be just as good as you remembered, and the time spent with friends and family in wine country may even make you think it was worth the wait!