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Governor Newsom Announces California Winery Tasting Room Reopenings

Today, Governor Newsom’s office announced the anticipated reopening of California winery tasting rooms allowing wineries to resume their tasting room operations and welcome guests. Tasting room reopenings are only permitted in counties with a variance to advance further into Phase 2 and are subject to county-specific rules. The new state guidance has a recommended effective date of no sooner than June 12, 2020. Therefore, wineries will need to consult with their county to learn when the new guidance will be effective in their area.

Tasting Rooms must follow the specific health and safety guidance outlined by the administration in the just released COVID-19 Industry Guidancethat incorporates practices for tasting rooms such as:

  • Provide a clean glass for each tasting and do not pour beverages into a glass that a customer has already used (smelled, tasted from, etc.)
  • Discontinue use of communal dump buckets, spit buckets, spittoons, etc. Provide individual, disposable cups to each guest instead to avoid splash contamination between guests.
  • Do not touch beverage container necks to cups, glasses, etc. when pouring wine, beer, or spirits.
  • Take measures to ensure that tasting group appointment times do not overlap to mitigate interaction of people from different groups and places.
  • Discontinue tours that combine individuals from different households into the same tour group. Tour guides must maintain at least six feet of physical distance from customers/visitors.

To help facilitate seamless reopenings, Wine Institute has created documents for winery adaptation including exterior signage, a privacy notice for employeesan infectious and communicable disease policy and a liability waiver for guests. Tasting Rooms should also reference Wine Institute’s tasting room reopening protocols based on established governmental health and safety guidance and consultation with an infectious disease expert at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine and a senior OSHA legal expert.

Last month, Wine Institute shared its protocols for winery tasting room reopening with the Governor’s office and has been actively engaged in demonstrating the California wine industry’s commitment to implementing the highest standard of health and safety practices in order to reopen for guests. This work proved foundational to the decision by the Newsom Administration to allow wineries to open in Stage 2. We will continue to provide updates and are available to answer questions.



Wine Institute’s Legal Department
Wine Institute’s Sacramento Department