Wineries with cellar doors in NSW have been given the green light to welcome visitors for wine tastings again from June 1.
The NSW Wine Industry Association (NSWWIA) said it welcomes the announcement of the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions that will see cellar doors be able to offer up to 50 guests seated wine tastings, without the necessity to serve with food.
Total guest numbers at cellar doors will still be limited by the one person per 4 square metres regulation and the 1.5 metres social distancing rule.
NSWWIA President Mark Bourne said: “We are delighted with the news and thank the NSW Berejiklian government for their hard work, support and collaboration with industry during these difficult times.
“The NSW wine industry has faced drought, fires and the pandemic all in a short period of time and we cannot wait to start to make some new, more positive, memories with the wine loving public.
“Of course, it won’t be back to normal exactly as there are still restrictions and guidelines in place to make sure we all stay safe. However, we are looking forward to those travelling to our wine regions in June joining us on this journey, as cellar doors offer new COVIDsafe models for enjoyable wine tastings and experiences, along with our usual exceptional wines and service.”
To assist all NSW cellar doors and staff, as well as ensuring consumer confidence, the NSWWIA has created COVIDsafe Guidelines for all its members and also recommend a coronavirus safety training course.
These guidelines, which align with the NSW Department of Health Checklist, give a practical set of recommendations for cellar doors to demonstrate to guests that their venue is safe and welcoming.
“The cellar doors in all of the 16 wine regions of NSW are committed to a successful re-opening, committed to following all the best safety practices and most importantly committed to exceeding visitors expectations by offering the very best wines and regional experiences available,” Bourne said.
“We have been delighted to receive so many enquiries about coming to visit a winery with a trip to regional NSW, but I must highlight that we are all living and operating in a changed landscape and so to avoid disappointment, I highly recommend that you book ahead for tastings, lunches, dinners etc.
“Once booked, please be respectful by arriving on time for your bookings. Most importantly, enjoy the new safe and exciting tastings and wine experiences on offer across NSW.”