Heartland wineries find creative ways to rebound from pandemic

Published: Jun. 15, 2020 at 12:06 PM CDT
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HEARTLAND (KFVS) - During the spring and summer, the Heartland is a destination for people looking to enjoy a glass of wine.

Wineries draw in large crowds of people celebrating special events like bachelorette parties, birthdays, baby showers.

However, this year these types of activities have been put on hold due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

That’s why places like Kite Hill Winery in Jackson County, Ill. is getting creative.

Right now, the state of Illinois is limiting the number of people allowed inside the tasting room at Kite Hill.

Scott Albert, the winemaker at Kite Hill, said they are now offering wine flights, something you’re more apt to see at a microbrewery.

When visitors get to Kite Hill they will be offered a detailed wine list.

After you make your selections, you will be given four samples at once instead of having an intimate one-on-one tasting.

Albert said the idea is to limit contact and keep people as distant as possible.

According to Albert, the goal is to create a safe environment so everyone can enjoy a taste of southern Illinois.

“It shows that we are adaptable, that we are open to making things work no matter what,” Albert said. “That’s kind of the case with farming grapes to begin with. We are dealt with a lot of problems that need innovative solutions and we have to come up with that solution to make it work otherwise, you know, we maybe won’t get the same crop that we would have that year. So it’s no different in that respect.”

Albert said wineries along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail are taking as many precautions as necessary to keep people feeling comfortable during their visit.

CLICK HERE for information about the services each winery is hosting.

Places like River Ridge in rural Scott County, Missouri are also finding ways to adjust to the new normal.

The owners now spend a lot more time rearranging chairs and tables to keep people socially distant.

Co-owner Rob Bullock says while things are a lot more spread out, their mission remains the same -- give people a safe environment to enjoy their wine and food.

“Social distancing is our business model," Bullock said. "That’s what we do. set a business up miles and miles away from anybody and people come here to get away from people mostly but obviously we’ll have good crowds here but people show up out here to really have their own space and do their own thing.”

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