Local breweries, wineries now able to open with fewer COVID restrictions

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At Engelmann Cellars, buying wine no longer comes with an extra purchase.

This weekend, new guidelines took effect, allowing wineries, breweries and distilleries that don't serve food to reopen.

"You don't have to spend that extra," says Bret Engelman. "You just want to have a glass of wine, then you don't have to buy a sandwich to go with your glass of wine. It is nice that you don't have to do that anymore."

Businesses that don't offer meals must operate outdoors with several modifications for counties in the purple and red tiers.

For wineries like Engelmann, this means closing their tasting rooms and serving drinks outside.

Owner Bret Engelman says this isn't ideal, but it's a step in the right direction.

It's also a major improvement from this time last year.

"At this time last year after 20 years in the business, I did not know if I was going to be here this year at this time last year," he said.

Engelman says they opened up during the pandemic and required meal purchases from food trucks for wine sales.

Now he says people can save a few bucks, but he intends to keep that option for customers.

"We are going to keep the food trucks coming in every Sunday because it is a nice addition to what we have done in the past," he said.

Breweries and wineries not selling food must have people make reservations, and they can only stay for an hour and a half.

The business must also close by 8 pm.

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