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Tasting room Q & A for Phase 2 with the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board

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Now that Phase 2 is up and running in many counties throughout Washington state, tasting rooms in distilleries, breweries and wineries are open, too. In a recent webinar with Justin Nordhorn, chief enforcement officer of the Liquor and Cannabis Board, we asked some questions that may help tasting rooms as they transition to our new normal.

Q: Should we pre-pour our samples?

A: This should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If pre-pouring samples is feasible for your business model, it could be helpful in minimizing contact.

Q: Should we provide fresh stemware between samples?

A: Contact your local health department for further clarification.

Q: Are there any limitations to utilizing production space for dining, for example, repurposing a barrel room as a dining area?

A: If you are considering overall occupancy limitations, you could use production space as a dining area.

Q: Can wineries still offer curbside and home delivery through Phase 4?

A: Yes.

Q: How do I get samples to retail buyers?

A: Contact the Washington Wine Institute for further clarification on this topic.

Q: Can I use one bottle between tables?

A: One bottle can be used between multiple tables as long as the server is the only person touching the bottle and does not pour table-to-table in previously used stemware.

Q: Do wine tasting notes need to be disposable or single-use?

A: If the note is being passed from customer to customer, then yes, it must be single-use.

Q: Will I need to reduce the tasting options available in my tasting room?

A: No, offerings will not need to be limited.

Q: Breweries can pour 25% guest taps, are there any changes to this at this time?

A: No.


More tasting room advice from the California Wine Institute

Consider all tasting room visits to be by appointment only, until an assessment of guest management social distancing effectiveness can be evaluated.

Ensure that all employees and customers wear face coverings when required.

Customers do not need to wear face coverings while seated at the table once orders have been taken and wine service begins.

Require employees to maintain a six-foot distance from other employees and customers.

Configure seating to comply with physical distancing requirements. Ensure tables are spaced at least six feet apart so that distancing of six feet between parties is maintained, including when customers approach or leave tables.

Place visual cues to ensure people are six feet apart such as, floor markings to ensure customers maintain a six-foot distance while waiting to pay or be seated.

Post signage to ensure that customers meet the six-foot distancing requirement.

Monitor the number of customers on premises at one time to ensure physical distancing requirements are maintained and to comply with Phase 2’s 50 percent capacity rule.

Limit parties to five people or fewer who have chosen to congregate together. If a party is larger than five, separate them into more than one table.

People in the same party seated at the same table do not have to be six feet apart.