Bring your own mask: Napa Valley wineries get ready for reopening

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California's wine industry has been hit hard by Covid-19, which not only shut down wineries to visitors, but also restaurants and hotels as the region approached its most popular time of year among tourists.

On the heels of Napa Valley restaurants getting green-lighted for indoor dining last week, some of the region's wineries are poised to reopen during what is typically its peak season.

Green Island Vineyards grows Pinot Noir grapes for top Napa Valley wineries, and uses treated wastewater to irrigate.Napa Valley restaurants received approval to begin offering indoor dining last week. Now, some of the region's wineries are poised to reopen, in hopes that stir-crazy local tourists will emerge from isolation looking for a wine country adventure.

"It's been very difficult," said Stephanie Honig, director of sales and communications at Honig Vineyard & Winery. "We try and be optimistic and stay positive for our children and employees, but it's unsettling to have so much uncertainty. "The typical smaller winery lost 20% of their sales to restaurants, and 28% of sales from the tasting room; close to 50% on average," said McMillan. "Some of that has been made up by some of the other sales tactics, but nothing close to normal."

Challenges will remain once the region's wineries are allowed to reopen. St. Supery Estate Vineyards & Winery CEO Emma Swain said it's hard to predict how many tourists will choose to venture out before a coronavirus vaccine is available. Once they do, Swain says they may find the new reality of wine tasting in a post-pandemic world jarring.

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