Winery continues to serve with social distancing guidelines


WILLIAMSTON, Mich. (WLNS)– The newest executive order doesn’t affect breweries, wineries and distilleries in Michigan, but owners of a local winery say the pandemic has still hit them hard.

Before the pandemic, Burgdorf’s Winery was able to give its customers a more hands-on experience.

“In the past we would do tasting in the same glass and we would continuously pour, and they would stand by the bar, and there was a lot of conversation which is nice,” co-owner Deborah Burgdorf says. “But it’s very social, and we’re trying to cut down on that and keep people distanced and away, and we can do that here.”

By spreading out tables, making appointments mandatory and serving drinks outside instead of in the tasting room, she says they’re bouncing back after seeing their income shrink by about 80 percent.

The executive order issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday, which closes indoor services at most bars, is good for the winery, but the head of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association says the ripple effect still hurts small businesses.

“The goal of this [Executive Order] was to reduce some of these large gatherings at large places,” Executive Director Scott Ellis says, “and unfortunately I think the unintended consequence is they used 70 percent, and that doesn’t achieve the goal.”

Before things cool down outside, Burgdorf’s management is brainstorming potential solutions to keep business going.

“I’ve heard of those domes that are outside and heated and possibly having that, but I don’t know. I don’t know what they’ll do.”

For now, they plan to keep things small while the weather is on their side.

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