SONOITA, Ariz. — Many are hitting the road looking for a safe way to socially distance while we continue to fight COVID-19 at the vineyards in Southern Arizona.
It’s back to business for Sonoita Vineyards after the pandemic closed their winery for months.
"We were completely shut down. So that was horrible there's absolutely no revenue coming in,” explained Lori Reynolds.
That was not the only challenge they faced.
“We experienced a couple of hail storms here in Sonoita and we --most of us-- lost if not half to three quarters to an entire crop of grapes. [It] got completely wiped out,“ she said.
According to the Sonoita Vineyard, it's the oldest commercial winery and vineyard in Arizona. It first opened its doors in the 1970s.
“By my grandparents Dr Dutt. He was also the soil science researcher at the University of Arizona, which was really started this whole thing. Here we are 42 years later, still growing grapes in the desert and making award-winning wines,” said Reynolds.
Things look a little different than they did then, with new protocols in place.
"Here at our winery, we provide there is a portable sink outside to wash your hands when you arrive [and] we have hand sanitizer available when you enter and when you exit,” she explained.
Joshua made the trip from Tucson and said he felt safe at the winery.
“I like to get away from home and town during COVID,” he explained.
Although their industry is still facing uncertainty with festival cancellations, the Sonoita Vineyards is open and ready to serve the public as a way to get away.
The vineyard even allows campers to dry camp on their property.
"Out little winery here is a part of the Harvest Host Program. So if people do [have] RVs and they like to camp, we don't charge people for camping on their property but it is dry camping. You're allowed to use your generator, but we just ask that you come in and support our business in some fashion," explained Reynolds.