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(Photo Credit: David Benthal)

Back in January, Sherwood House Vineyards closed its doors to do a complete redesign of the farmhouse tasting room. But when the pandemic hit a few months later, the team wanted to think of a way to use the redesign to their advantage and create a space that is intimate but also safe.

“We ended up actually coming together and redesigning the redesign,” Ali Tuthill, general manager, said. “If we’re going to open up to the public again, how do we stay true to the original concept, but obviously do the redesign in a way that creates an environment of health and safety but is also enjoyable?”

With that in mind, each room within the tasting room was created as a pod, as Tuthill called it, where a group of people can relax and taste the wine while being in an intimate and socially-distant environment. Instead of a bar and high top tables, cozy, low seating sits in front of the fireplace. Reclaimed wood tables and steamer trunks, sourced from Lumber and Salt, add warmth and texture while local photography on the walls brings in brightness. 

“It gives customers an opportunity to really enjoy and experience the wines, but still maintain this very approachable environment,” Tuthill said. “We’ve utilized design with the intention to create safety through these really elegant moments of space.”

The redesign of the tasting room was also part of a relaunching of the Sherwood House brand. A larger food menu complete with local carrot and harissa hummus with pita chips, fresh vegetables served with creamy herb dip and North Fork Potato Chips and a cheese and local berry plate, was added. And a new approach to service was implemented. Outside is more casual with three self-guided wine options including a seasonal flight, wine by the glass or wine by the bottle. Inside is booked through a different reservation and focuses more on education.

“It’s a more guided experience, where you have a dedicated server walk you through the wine flights,” Tuthill said. “The goal is to really allow people to enjoy and discover the wines and revisit old favorites and maybe expose them to some wines that they didn’t know we made.”

Sherwood House Vineyards is open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. by reservation only. 

1291 Main Rd, Jamesport