Wineries tell Castanet how they've adapted to the pandemic

Wineries adapt to pandemic

Plexiglass, face masks and social distanced tours could be some of the things you see during your next winery visit.

Castanet spoke with Lake Country's Intrigue Wines and O'Rourke's Peak Cellars about how they will be moving forward amid the COVID-19 pandemic and what measures they have taken to ensure the safety of their visitors and employees. 

"We were super fortunate that we were actually able to stay open this entire time. We were able to keep all of our employees and our tasting room staff actually stepped up and did a lot of work in the vineyard," says assistant wine shop manager at Intrigue Wines, Carolynne Dumontet. 

While the wine shop remained open and online orders and curb-side pickups skyrocketed, the tasting room was closed in correlation with the provinces COVID-19 guidelines.

However Intrigue Wines tasting room is now open with various new safety protocols in place including plexiglass, hand sanitization stations, social distance reminder stickers on the floor, contact tracing and a limit on how many people can enter the facility at a time. 

"We definitely want everyone to know that we're still offering the same guest experience we had before here, just a little bit different," says Dumontet. "We just sort of adapted how we're doing things and we're confident that we've put the proper measures in place to make sure everyone feels comfortable coming in."

When it comes to visiting Intrigue Wines for a wine tasting, the tasting bar is open for groups of up to six people and Dumontet recommends making an online reservation. 

"We'll have the four glasses pre-poured for you and then you can go and take it away yourself so there's no unnecessary interaction back and fourth between the tasting bar host and the customer," she says.

Intrigue Wines is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

O'Rourke's Peak Cellars has been closed since March 14, however staff are gearing up to welcome back visitors to the tasting room and Garden Bistro on Thursday and they will be doing so with face masks.

"When we're in close range to our customers we'll be wearing a mask and when we're able to step back and talk about the food, we'll be able to remove our masks," says general manager at O'Rourke's Peak Cellars, Heather Courtney.

There will be seating for 40 guests outdoors at the Garden Bistro and reservations can be made online for the restaurant and tasting room for up to six people. Staff have also utilized the production area to add more tables for sit-down tastings which will be brought directly to the guests.

"All of our dining at this point will be outside," says Courtney. "We've got heat lamps and drop down walls so we'll be able to keep people cozy."

Wine tours will also be available once O'Rourke's Peak Cellars is open and the tasting room will be open daily from 11 a.m. 5 p.m. and the Garden Bistro will be open everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. To learn more click here.

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