As the beginnings of fall start to make subtle appearances across the state, from the first changing leaves to a welcome respite from the heat, wineries are entering a harvest season like no other. As with all things, this year brings with it some new challenges, but PA Wine Land is bustling with (safe!) activity to welcome the busiest and most beautiful time of year.
Whether you’ve already ventured back to the vineyards (and patios and porches and lawns) of PA Wine Land or are planning to make a trip soon, here are a few helpful hints to make your visit as smooth and enjoyable as a glass of Pinot Noir:
1. Call ahead
Really. With a phone! By the time you finish reading this article, county restrictions and winery operations could have changed. Wineries aren’t always able to update their website or social media channels with the most up-to-date info. Your best bet is to pick up the phone and talk to someone on site before heading out.
2. Prepare for a different experience
You might need to reserve a table. You might need to BYOC (bring your own chair). You might be required to purchase food in order to consume their wine or other adult beverages on-site. Tastings and flights may not be available — or they might take a creative new form. Wineries are responding to new health mandates that could change their policies on wines by the glass, table service, food service, and, well, everything else to ensure their customers’ safety. While the details might be different, your favorite wines, views, and smiling faces … er … eyes … will be as familiar as ever.
3. Be patient
These are strange and unprecedented times for everyone, wineries included. They have been hard at work putting new sanitization procedures, payment methods — and tables! — in place to comply with the most up-to-date safety standards. With all of this change, things might not be as smooth as you’re used to. Just know that everyone is doing their best to make your long-awaited out-of-home experience as enjoyable as possible.
4. Have and wear your mask.
Masks are required when in public in Pennsylvania.
5. Wear sunscreen
While some wineries are starting to offer limited indoor seating, many are moving as much of their operations to the great outdoors as possible, so lather up that SPF. Wineries that don’t typically have outdoor seating might welcome safely spaced folding chairs, picnic blankets, or tailgating, so don’t count out your favorite winery just because it doesn’t have a patio.
6. Keep it exclusive
If you’ve always wanted an opportunity to say “You can’t sit with us,” this is your moment. Wineries may restrict party sizes based on safety standards. So think carefully about who you want to spend your precious outdoor time with!
7. Call ahead
Yes, it’s that important. We can give you some tips on PA Wine Land as a whole, but no one is more knowledgeable about the winery you’re planning to visit than the winery itself. What we know for sure is that they will be thrilled to hear from you!