Returning to tasting rooms

About once a year, this space offers a “tasting room 101” lesson in etiquette for the enjoyment of everyone heading out to discover a new winery, brewery, cidery, or distillery.

There are some basics that will always be important and can help ensure a great experience for you, other guests, and the crew looking after you:

  • Leave the perfume, cologne, or other scents at home or the hotel room;
  • Check in advance if your pooch is allowed to come with you, or if there is a doggy area available;
  • Unless you’re taking notes, put your phone down during your tasting, and save the group photos or selfies for when your sipping is done;
  • Bring a cooler or ice pack on a hot day so your purchases don’t accidentally cook in a hot car, or ask if you can have bottles shipped to you.

Now, after months (and months) of not being able to go out to a tasting room, or choosing to wait until it was safer and you could go with people from other households, we’re all ready to hit the ground running.

Here comes the modern-day version of the Roaring ’20s.

Let’s all keep in mind that things will be different, so a little additional planning is in order.

First, check if the tasting rooms you want to visit are accepting walk-ins, are on a reservation only system, or a combination of the two.

When in doubt, make a reservation so you’re not disappointed. While the capacity for guests is increasing, your favourite winery may be limited in space and you may get turned around at the door if current capacity has been reached.

And do remember, it’s not the fault of the staff if they can’t accept you as a walk-in, or the only space available for you is outside.

Speaking of staff – and this goes for almost any culinary or drinking establishment – be kind. They have had to go through restrictions themselves, face the stress of numerous safety changes, may have just returned to work, and very likely this season will not have a full team in place with them.

Patience will be the key word while you’re trying that pinot.

Be courteous to your fellow guests too as they are coming back out of their own COVID cocoons.

  • Some may be more comfortable continuing to wear masks, even when the mandate changes or is lifted.
  • Some will keep the habit of six-feet apart for a while.
  • And some will not be used to the Plexiglas everywhere.

On a personal note, I’d like to say thanks to the folks who said nothing when I recently hit my head on one of these barriers. Twice.


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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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