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croweded tastiing roomAs the U.S. begins to implement social distancing in order to reduce transmission of the coronavirus to manageable levels, there are two things we should not be doing right now:

(1) Mingling in crowded public spaces; and

(2) Listening to Republicans who are trying to make you sick.

This is a real crisis and the basic mathematics of exponential  growth tells us so.

Given that tasting rooms at some wineries on Saturday afternoon are basically just a crowded, elbow-to-elbow  barroom, now is probably not a good time to go wine tasting. Just stay home.

However, at some point in that dimly seen horizon called “the future”, people will emerge from behind their battlements seeking social contact. Even then, barring a medical breakthrough, this virus will still be with us. I suspect some degree of social distancing will be necessary for quite some time.

What does that mean for visits to wineries?  Many wineries will develop innovative ways of adapting in order to sell their wines. Here are several good suggestions from Rob McMillan for how wineries can start thinking about adapting to the situation.

But what about the consumer visiting the winery? How should we adapt? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Take advantage of private tastings. They are more expensive but your health is priceless.

But If you’re going to a public tasting room:

2. Choose one that isn’t crowded. If you arrive at your chosen destination and it’s too crowded go to the next one. Plan ahead with several destinations in mind.

3. Bring your own glassware, pen and notepad.

4. Sit outside. Most wineries have outdoor seating and they will probably make it even more accommodating as a way of encouraging people to visit.

5. Do not touch the menu or flight map. Again, wineries may find ways of supplying informational material that does not require handling.

6. Wipe down your seating area with hand-sanitizing wipes. Wineries should make these available.

If we become accustomed to following good social distancing practices visiting a winery should not be especially dangerous once the period of peak transmission passes.