Staff Report

In the midst of a global pandemic, Santa Barbara County wineries are taking concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) seriously. 

Emails from wineries assure customers they are taking extra steps in their tasting rooms to prevent the spread of illness. From providing extra hand sanitizer and thoroughly sanitizing their surroundings to ensuring sick employees stay home, tasting rooms are optimistic they will remain open while still following recommended COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

Santa Barbara Vintners CEO Alison Laslett notes that wine tasting is not an inherently crowded activity 

“Most of our tasting rooms have ample space to spread out and our local wineries are able to follow the CDC’s recommendations without closing up shop,” she said.

Some California residents are avoiding local and long-distance travel and opting to stay home.

“For those customers that are not comfortable leaving home, many wineries are offering shipping deals online and nearly all wineries will ship direct to California residents,” Laslett said. “In urban areas, customers have been able to order wines to be delivered via grocery and alcohol delivery services.”

Santa Barbara Vintners has also decided to postpone the 2020 Santa Barbara Vintners Festival. Originally scheduled for May 2, the festival will now be held on Saturday, Oct 10 at Rancho Sisquoc Winery in the Santa Maria Valley from 1 to 4 p.m. with early admission at noon. Wineries are also cancelling or postponing larger events such as pickup parties per California’s recent directive to cancel any event with more than 250 people. 

“It is our social responsibility to reschedule the Festival due to the uncertainty of the next few months,” Laslett said. “Fortunately, harvest is a gorgeous time of year in the Santa Maria Valley and a terrific time for visitors and locals to immerse themselves in the winemaking season.”

The event will still feature over 70 local wine producers and food from local restaurants, farmers and caterers along with the Bank of Marin Bubble Lounge, educational demonstrations and live music. Vintners Visas, offering unique and complimentary wine tasting at a choice of twelve participating tasting rooms, will now be valid from Oct. 8-12. 

For those customers who have already purchased Vintners Visas or tickets to the Festival and are unable to attend the new date, refunds are available by emailing All tickets including the Vintners Visa, Festival Grand Tasting and ticket packages are available on For more information about the Santa Barbara Vintners Festival Weekend including local winery events, visit