We chatted with Saratoga Winery’s Events Coordinator & Marketing Manager Amy Greth about how the winery has coped with the pandemic, changes they’ve had to make to ensure safety, what to expect going into fall and the winter, and how they’ve maintained momentum when it comes to keeping the fun alive at this Saratoga hotspot.
1) To start with the basics, what are your current hours? Are reservations required?
We’re open Thursday and Friday for pickup only from 12pm to 6pm (just call when you get to the winery if you’d like curbside service), then dine-in hours are Friday 6pm to 9pm, Saturday 12pm to 9pm, and Sunday 12pm to 6pm. We plan to add Thursday soon for dine-in as well. Reservations are required at this time so we can continue to open safely with the restrictions of 50% capacity.
2) You’re allowing outdoor dining on the patio, correct? How long will this continue? And what about indoor dining?
The patios will stay open as long as possible! The tent over the deck is usually taken down on November 1st. Guests are more than welcome to sit outside past that date if they want to.
Indoor dining is no problem since we doubled our indoor space in 2019 with the addition of our 2,400-square-foot Wine Barn. During the winter months tables will be spread out throughout the Tasting Room, Barrel Room, and Wine Barn.
3) Can you talk a bit in general about how the winery has had to adjust to the pandemic times?
It’s certainly been a roller coaster since March for any winery/brewery/craft beverage business/bar/restaurant in New York! It has been a challenge to reimagine the winery during the pandemic.
We have been getting creative and exploring new ways to stay open. Safety for our guests has been and continues to be our first concern. The second concern has been to figure out how to deliver the winery experience that our guests have become so accustomed to. The vibe of the winery has always been relaxing, fun, and unique, and it’s not an easy feat with a barrel load of restrictions pressing down on that vibe.
Taking that all into account, we are extremely happy with how we reopened. Guests can still enjoy a tasting, sip their favorite drink, and enjoy a wood-fired pizza or cheese board. We do our best to seat every table where they would prefer, outside on our patio or inside the tasting room.
4) I can see you’ve had recent events on your calendar and you’re staying busy! Can you tell us about the types of events you’ve been hosting? Are you still doing private events?
We have been extremely open to new ideas recreating some of the events we host. We had goat yoga that sold out in August, and we have another one coming up in October. We had a drive-through BBQ that was a collaboration with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation to host their annual fundraiser.
We must look at events from a different perspective now. We have to take advantage of all the space we have to offer and and come up with solutions for every possible scenario. We plan to add a Craft Workshop in the fall and winter.
Private events in the Wine Barn are still happening with a reduced number of maximum guests, so hosts can still celebrate their special occasion and do so safely. We’re booking for holiday parties now!
5) Are you hosting live music at this time?
Unfortunately, we had to stop doing live music in August. New restrictions surfaced which restricted venues from advertising live music. As soon as we are allowed to have live music again, we will be ready!
6) What’s the most important thing you want people to know about visiting the winery at this time?
We want our winery friends to know that we are taking every precaution very seriously and enforcing the restrictions and guidelines. We can all get through this together. We strive every day to deliver an experience which encompasses what the core of the winery is – friends coming together to enjoy local wine in a laid back atmosphere.
COVID has changed a lot, but the overall vision of the winery has not changed. And it’s no secret when you walk into the winery how hard we are working to ensure safety. That’s a comforting notion when you decide to go out. It’s a bit of normalcy for a few hours – we all need it.
7) We sure do! Is there anything exciting coming up we should know about?
We will be adding new items to our cocktail list and a new food menu for fall and winter. We are open year-round. Follow us on Facebook to be the first to know about coupons and specials!
Plan Your Visit to the Winery – Hurry While the Leaves are Changing!
If you’ve never been before, Saratoga Winery is located on Route 29, about five miles west of downtown Saratoga Springs. As Greth alluded to, their slightly off the beaten path location and recent expansion allows for ample room outdoors and in, so whatever the weather or your preference you’ll be comfortable!
But, we recommend going in the upcoming weeks to enjoy the fine wine and mouthwatering pizza outdoors among the now-changing foliage.
To make a reservation call 518.584.wine and leave a message, or contact them at the form on their contact page.