To all our fans, collectors, enthusiasts, and Foley Family Food & Wine members, we can’t say it enough—we miss you!
But there is light at the end of this tunnel. As businesses around the world are beginning to reopen, we are taking every precautionary step to ensure that our re-opening is at pace with our ability to do everything safely and correctly.
To help shed some light on all of this, we spoke with Senior Vice President of DTC and Tasting Rooms for Foley Family Wines Liz Lease-McCaffery about the plan and process for reopening our wineries.
Q: What new safety measures are you putting in place for all Foley Family Wine estate tasting rooms?
Liz Lease-McCaffery (LLM): It all depends on regions, but right now [as of Tuesday, June 9], all tasting activity is supposed to take place outdoors. So, to help make that a reality, we’ve created an array of tablespace and are focused on cleanliness and PPE [personal protective equipment] for all our employees in an effort to accommodate social distancing. Given our tasting rooms and staff are food safety certified, we know how to do this incredibly well! We’re just ‘upping the ante.’ Even though there are state and county guidelines, FFW has its own protocols on top of all that.
Q: Some FFW tasting rooms have reopened in recent weeks. What’s it been like at those locations?
LLM: We’ve actually opened at least one winery in all the regions where we have tasting rooms—but we haven’t opened in every location. Oregon was one of the first states, followed by California and then Washington. Coming into this weekend, we have modified hours at Foley Johnson, Roth, Chalk Hill, Sebastiani, Banshee, Lincourt, Foley Estates, Firestone, Four Graces, and Three Rivers, and we’re anticipating the opening of Lancaster and Foley Sonoma as well. Every site has a “visit us” page [linked to in the previous sentence and below] and that has the details about the hours and rules at each winery. The most important point to make right now is that all visits are by appointment only. So any potential guests must make a reservation.
We’re focused on getting back open and getting our teams back together. The outdoor experiences at some locations are brand new and there’s great enthusiasm from our teams. We know our customers are enthusiastic to return to wine country too. In terms of accommodating everyone, it all depends on the location and how busy things get.
Because of its proximity to downtown Sonoma and the Bay Area, Sebastiani has seen increased engagement. So, be sure to call ahead and find out what’s going on and what’s available!
Q. Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for those who desire to visit and are taking those initial steps to come back to wine country?
LLM: We’re excited to welcome members back and really encourage them to make appointments to bring friends and use our space to celebrate being back open. There are a lot of new food experiences at our properties—we had a fried chicken weekend at Chalk Hill, and that was a big hit. My best advice is to continue to check out each website and the “visit us” tab, which will be regularly updated.
Q: What about all the great virtual tastings you’ve been doing. Will those continue?
LLM: We did see a shift to virtual tastings and people do enjoy those, like Instagram Live, and we’re planning to continue those and maybe even build upon that. Come back, see what we’ve got. As we reopen more physical spaces, we’ll update with pictures what things look like so continue to check-in!
REOPENING DETAILS BY ESTATE
SEBASTIANI VINEYARDS & WINERY
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY