Are the wineries open for tasting? That is one of the most frequent questions we have been getting. The answer is..yes!, but there are changes. It has been a busy summer, and I have not had much time to spare. Recently I did take some time and visited four wineries to see how things had changed. I went to Courtyard Winery and Lakeview Wine Cellars in PA, and 21 Brix and Five and Twenty Spirits and Brewing in NY.
During the summer, many of the wineries had increased seating outside to accommodate more tasting. With the coming of cooler days, two things have happened. Crowds have thinned (which is good) and the tastings have pretty much all moved inside, where there is more limited space. The cost for tasting has changed (increased), and, you will find that there may be fewer choices. Do watch the size of the tastings, because some of them are now a half glass of wine vs an ounce.
Most of the wineries, because of state requirements are now asking you to purchase some sort of food when you come for a tasting, and the choices are as varied as the wineries.
Courtyard, for example, has partnered with PopLuck Gourmet Popcorn and has a board matching their wine with different flavored popcorn. Lakeview Wine Cellars has a fruit plate or cheese and crackers. What I like about these changes is that is really gives you a chance to sit and savor the wine, and taste the wine on its own as well as with food.
21 Brix has very comfortable seating areas set up with armchairs and couches, as well as a pretty extensive menu. You can choose anything from salsa and chips to flatbread pizzas. We have fried green beans with two dips. For your wine tasting, you can choose from several flights–dry, sweet or mixed…and they have beer as well!
For a change of pace, I went to Five and Twenty’s Spirit Night on Friday from 5-8. You get purchase any one of eight craft cocktails for $5.25. Again, there is a limited choice of cheese, crackers and charcuterie that must be purchased with the drink. Seating is either in spaces around the bar, or at the firepit outside.
It seems like the wineries have figured out their own individual ways to deal with the current situation. And expect things to change, as things change. Just as Grape Arbor has had to make adjustments with the spread of COVID the wineries, too are adapting.
So go, hungry, take your time and enjoy your wine tasting!