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With COVID-19 coronavirus having reached the North Fork, area wineries and breweries have begun to take action to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The Long Island Wine Council released a statement Wednesday urging member wineries to follow guidelines set by the CDC.
“Individual wineries are limiting large groups, rescheduling events or closing until further notice,” the statement reads. “Long Island Wine Country is reaching out to member wineries to exchange knowledge and keep one another up to date with any new developments so that we can do our part to be proactive and responsibly attempt to mitigate the impact of coronavirus to our industry. ”
Precautionary measures include regular cleaning and disinfecting, and posting information in tasting rooms to stop the spread of the virus.
Raphael Winery announced Tuesday that it will not host tastings over the next two weeks. The Peconic winery also cancelled a wine club event scheduled for Sunday and upcoming reservations.
Wine club manager Diandra Schultz said the winery will limit tasting room activity to outside bottle sales when it opens Friday.
“Hopefully everything is OK, but I would rather be safe than sorry,” Schultz said. Raphael Winery is located just over a half mile away from Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.’s Peconic tasting room, where Suffolk’s first positively diagnosed COVID-19 patient worked.
Paumanok and Palmer Vineyards in Aquebogue, both owned by the Massoud family announced Wednesday they will follow suit, limiting tasting room business only to bottle sales, while also offering tours but only to six visitors or less.
RGNY in Riverhead is closing its tasting room until further notice. The winery issued a statement in a newsletter about its response to the virus on Thursday. The store will remain open for to-go purchases.
Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck is taking things a step further by closing until at least next Thursday, according to Chelsea Frankel, whose family owns the winery. Croteaux in Southold, which is co-owned by the family, has postponed its spring reopening after closing during the winter.
Both Bridge Lane Wine in Mattituck and Lieb Cellars in Cutchogue will only have to-go sales available Friday through Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. with a plan to resume normal services and hours on Monday after a thorough cleaning of the space. Office staff is working from home.
Still, other wineries are staying open.
Jerol Bailey, director of sales at Lenz Winery in Peconic, said the plan for now is to stay open, but to follow recommendations set out by the CDC.
“It’s an ongoing observation and we are monitoring it one day at a time,” he said. “We are reaching out to all confirmed reservations asking them to cancel if they feel anyone in the group has been ill or [had] possible exposure to the virus.”
Osprey’s Dominion in Peconic is still open for normal business hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Tastings will be done with plastic cups versus the traditional glass,” said tasting room manager Peter Carey. “We will be following the CDC recommendations keeping our tasting room clean and safe for our guests and staff.”
Castello di Borghese in Cutchogue is also planning to stay open “with a heightened sense of awareness and due diligence, with regard to implementing all necessary precautions, to ensure the wellbeing of our guests and staff,” said general manager Evie Kahn. They will also be posting signage on their front door, telling customers to limit contact and to not enter if they don’t feel well.
One Woman Wines and Vineyard in Southold and Greenport Distilling, both owned by the Purita family, will be open for business as usual. “We are seeing a huge impact on our business from COVID-19, but our primary concern is the health and safety of our employees and loyal customers,” Gabriella Purita, chief brand officer and general manager, said. “We are advising all patrons and employees who feel under the weather to stay home.”
The Old Field Vineyards in Southold has decided to shut its doors, only staying open for phone orders. If anyone wants to pickup wine, they can call 631-553-9566, 631-553-9569 or 631-834-4897, and it will be delivered to them in the parking lot.
The 2020 NY Drinks NY Grand Tasting has also been postponed with no reschedule date set yet. The New York Wine and Grape Foundation event, one of the biggest collaborations of local wineries in the region, features local wines from Long Island, the Finger Lakes and Hudson Valley. It had been set for March 31.
Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. began its cleanup efforts Wednesday as a precautionary measure due to the positive diagnosis of its employee. Its plan as of Monday was to stay closed until at least the end of the week.
Other breweries remain open but like at some of the wineries, certain events, like the nature talks and Monday trivia nights at Moustache Brewing Co. Thursday, have been canceled. The brewery has also switched to single use plastic cups and just launched an online order service with curbside pickup. “Customers can order and pay for cans and crowlers online, and then we will deliver them to their car when they arrive,” Lauri Spitz, owner, said. Ordering can be done through their website.
North Fork Brewing Co. and Long Ireland Beer Co. in Riverhead are also keeping normal business hours with increased sanitation.
Lady Brewsters events, which were set to take place throughout the month of March to benefit the Family Service League, have been postponed until May.
“It’s in the best interest of the charity so that we can raise as much funds as possible at a time when there isn’t a public health emergency,” said Michelle Demetillo, hospitality and community manager for North Fork Brewing Co.
Clovis Point Vineyards of Laurel announced in a Facebook post that they will be closing their tasting room until Thursday April 2 with plans to reopen on April 3. “Management will be available during our normal business hours to accept phone and email orders,” the post read. “Please note during the time that the tasting room is closed that we are offering free shipping on all phone/email orders of 6 bottles or more.”