The coronavirus pandemic has created mass confusion, fear and, in some cases, hysteria (been to Costco lately?), leaving families hunkered down in their homes with buckets of hand sanitizer, cases of toilet paper and enough staples to feed an army for months.
It’s understandable. This is a serious situation with real danger lurking around every corner. Everyone must make their own decisions for themselves, their families and society as a whole based on the information they have. Premier Doug Ford has just declared a state of emergency and ordered the immediate closure of all bars and restaurants as well as churches, private schools and daycares.
In Niagara wine country, most, but not all, major wine events have been cancelled or postponed (see here for a partial list) for the foreseeable future; drastic measures that had to be taken to protect society from the possible spread of COVID-19. This will have an unknown impact on the lives of everyone who works in the industry, both financially and emotionally, but it is being done for the wellbeing of the community. These are necessary steps and there will be more announcements to come.
For now, only a very few wineries have taken different approaches to remain open and operating as safely as possible for consumers, while most have closed tasting rooms and retail stores and moved to an online only system for selling wine. No single approach is the same as another. Consumers who are venturing out into wine country are urged to check websites and social media feeds to get up-to-date information on hours, restrictions and measures taken in light of COVID-19. Every approach is different.
We keeping a current list of tasting/retail facilities that have closed below as we receive information. Many wineries are offering free shipping (some with minimum orders, some only locally) if you buy online and some are offering discounts. Be sure to check websites and social media sites. We suspect this will become redundant as the pandemic progresses and the remaining few wineries still open will close in light of the state of emergency. Stay save out there, and support local wineries by ordering online.