Ah, COVID-19. You are, for lack of a more eloquent phrase, a royal pain in the ass.
As we slowly open up our businesses and try to get out of the house a little more, it’s natural to want to get back to some of the things that bring us pleasure. For my wife and I, one thing at the top of our list is getting together with our good friends and hitting up some wineries, whether those be local or up in the Okanagan. Here’s the catch, and it’s a big one: Neither of us is likely to survive COVID-19. So……to say we have to be very careful is an understatement.
My wife has a pre-existing medical condition (asthma) AND an auto-immune disease. I have severe sleep apnea, which was just announced in a study to be a serious contributor to death from COVID-19. It wouldn’t make me more likely to GET the virus, but if I get it, I’m in real trouble. My wife would be at high risk to get the virus, since her immune system is basically non-existent, and if she gets it, well…….not a good thing.
So, for the most part, we are quarantined. When we do go out, we are very careful, and we will have to continue to be so until this virus is wiped out or a vaccine is available.
Does that mean we can’t do anything fun? No, it’s just a question of choosing the right activities. A walk with the dog along the river, enjoying a scenic drive, a picnic in an uncrowded park, or, as I took in yesterday, a wine tasting.
BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has called the risk of transmitting COVID-19 outdoors “negligible” and “infinitesimally small”. A recent study of cases in China found a total of ONE outbreak (which caused two cases) linked to outdoor transmission. Although there is little doubt that we don’t know everything about this virus yet, it seems as if enjoying the outdoors, as long as you take some elementary precautions, is very safe.
One of our very good friends lost her job due to COVID, as did I, so we decided it was a great opportunity to head out to the newly-reopened Glass House Estate Winery in Langley. It is about a 40-minute drive from my place, and only about 15 minutes for her. We decided it would be safest to go during a weekday, to minimize the number of guests that we might have to interact with. Oh, and it was somewhat satisfying to go wine tasting while our spouses were working, to earn the money to pay for the wine we were about to buy 🙂
Unlike a lot of wineries open in the Okanagan, they are not currently taking reservations; but we know someone there, and they knew we were coming and what time we would be there. They are in an excellent position for “pandemic tasting”, in that their space is huge. If you want to do a typical wine tasting, they have a large indoor area and tasting bar. If, like us, you want more than that, they have a patio with 8-10 tables, well spaced apart. And, if that’s not enough, they have a large open grassy area with a bunch of picnic tables, where you can take some wine and have yourself a little picnic. They currently have a small “shared plates” menu, but they are expanding that to include burgers and the like in the near future.
We were seated at the end of the patio, nowhere near the other guests. Our servers all wore masks and gloves whenever they were near anyone. We never felt unsafe for even a second.
Let’s get to the wine!
It’s a real treat to have a winery producing wines of this quality less than an hour away from Chilliwack. When my wife has some time off, I’ll take her for a tasting and I know that we will both feel perfectly safe. I will investigate the other Fraser Valley wineries as well and see which ones can accommodate outdoor tastings.
Next up? More random stuff that I’ve been drinking this week, including a bunch of Okanagan wine. Stay tuned!