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Wine Tasting in the Time of COVID-19

by Chris Russell, Contributor

For many of us, 2020 has been a year of challenges. For the dozens of wineries and tasting rooms comprising Southern Oregon’s vibrant wine scene, some of these challenges have been felt keenly as lockdowns and concerns about the ongoing pandemic fundamentally alter nearly every aspect of daily life. Southern Oregon’s wineries are nothing if not resilient, however, and we’re working hard to ensure wine tasting—at home or in the tasting room—remains a fun, safe, and enduring part of your Rogue Valley wine experience.

COVID-19 in Oregon

On March 17, less than a month after the first confirmed COVID-19 cases in Oregon, Governor Brown barred on-site consumption of food and beverages across the state to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. This left tasting rooms across the state scrambling. Some had never even previously considered offering takeout and delivery, services that were now necessary for survival.

Lasting nearly two months, this public safety lockdown proved disquieting for even the hardiest of wineries, with many left wondering how they would be able to remain open and keep employees on staff. Nevertheless, Southern Oregon wineries displayed fortitude and agility in the face of adversity, quickly pivoting to provide services ranging from contactless curbside delivery to virtual wine tastings—and even toilet paper delivery!

Southern Oregon wineries displayed fortitude and agility in the face of adversity, quickly pivoting to provide services ranging from contactless curbside delivery to virtual wine tastings—and even toilet paper delivery!

In mid-May, when Phase 1 reopening permitted tasting rooms to resume on-premise services throughout Southern Oregon, tasting rooms had to rethink safety from the ground up, with new requirements in place for social distancing; cleaning and sanitizing surfaces; wearing masks and other PPE; and even seating customers.

Phase 2, following a few weeks later, further loosened some restrictions but left many safety precautions in place. Guidelines and best practices continue to change and evolve to this day, with a statewide mask mandate going into effect on July 1.

Safety First

You’re officially invited to come see for yourself how we’re working to make certain COVID-19 is one wine pairing you’ll never have to worry about! At 2Hawk, our tasting room, open 1–7 pm daily, adheres to the highest standards of safety set forth by our state and local governments. Our current safety precautions include:

  • Everyone over the age of 12 is required to wear a mask or face covering while inside the tasting room, except while eating or drinking at a table.
  • Groups are limited to no more than 10 people.
  • Tables, indoors and out, are spaced six feet apart to ensure adequate social distancing.
  • No self-serve items are available.
  • All wines in a flight are delivered to the guest at the same time.
  • Wine glasses are polished while wearing single-use gloves.
  • Outdoor games like bocce and cornhole are temporarily unavailable.
  • Flight paddles, menus, iPads, tables, and chairs are all sanitized after each use.
  • Food prep surfaces; bar; bathroom counters; and toilet and door handles are sanitized frequently throughout the day.
  • Ozone, a powerful and naturally occurring disinfectant, is used daily to disinfect air and surfaces in the tasting room.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in several places throughout the tasting room for easy access by customers and staff.
  • Employees wear masks during service and gloves when sanitizing.
  • After handling any items touched by customers, employees apply hand sanitizer or thoroughly wash their hands.
  • A designated staff member is appointed each day to monitor social distancing requirements and help avoid bottlenecks in high-traffic areas.

… and that’s just for starters! More details are available at our FAQ.

For the duration of the pandemic and beyond, you can safely enjoy good company and stellar wine in our tasting room as well as throughout the Rogue Valley and Southern Oregon.

Learn More

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted wine tasting in Southern Oregon. We’d love to see you in our tasting room soon. If you’d like to learn more about making and enjoying wine, keep up on the latest happenings at 2Hawk, and discover our latest offerings, subscribe to our newsletter and you’ll always be in the loop. Do you have any questions about our wines, our vineyard, or the winemaking process? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Please comment below or reach out to us directly via our Contact page.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about our Rogue Valley wines, here are a few ways:

  1. On the lookout for new recipes to bring your food and wine game to the next level? Look no further than our June blog post, 2Hawk Wine & Food Pairings.
  2. Visit the tasting room to sample our current wines.
  3. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the latest happenings.

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Tasting room open daily 1 to 7 pm

2335 North Phoenix Road | Medford, OR | 541.779.wine