What it’s like to go to a wine tasting event during the coronavirus pandemic
Food and drink events in Vail’s fall season are usually some of the most popular: Gourmet on Gore, Taste of Vail’s Wine & Food Classic, restaurant week. But with the coronavirus pandemic, all those have been canceled.
The Wine at Vail, however, has stayed on the books. Starting Friday and ending Sunday this weekend, guests are able to attend hour-and-half tasting sessions in Ford Park by the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. In an event reimagined to be pandemic and social distancing-friendly, the experience is definitely one to remember.
Upon entering, security administed a temperature check to me and my boyfriend. After our ID’s were checked and our tickets were scanned, organizers handed us a small commemorative wine glass, a plate with a hole to carry the glass and wristbands.
Once we got in the event, the glass they gave us was near useless. For safety measures, each vendor filled small plastic cups with taster-size pours. The cups were compostable, but I still think it’s such a shame that the pandemic has forced us to use so many one-time-use materials.
At the first vendor table we visited, my boyfriend and I were chatting with the representatives, and we’d lifted our masks off to try some of their wines and discuss. An event “referee” came over and gently reminded us to put our masks on. He was literally dressed in a referee costume and he may have had a whistle hanging around his neck, too. We obliged, of course.
Masks are required in all common areas except the designated sampling area. The white boxes sprayed on the ground for the outdoor concerts at the park over the summer served another purpose as a table spacing marker. With one table per square, guests have the option to sit down or stand and enjoy the atmosphere. A live folk band provided entertainment from the stage.
Even with social distancing protocols, masks and plastic tasting cups, in most other ways, this event was like it might be in non-pandemic times. Both me and my boyfriend saw a few people we knew. We drank and goofed around.
What else could you really ask for?
The Wine Classic has tickets available for tasting sessions, though there are limited amounts left. For more information, visit vailwineclassic.com.
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Tons of new and gently used gear can be found at the 51st annual Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Swap this weekend at Dobson Ice Arena in Lionshead.