East End wineries, breweries report positive sales following first weekend of Phase 2
The first weekend of Phase 2 brought a much-needed boom in business to Long Island's East End.
Wineries and breweries were back in business this weekend. Along with some nice weather, many say they were pleased with the number of visitors they saw.
Phase 2 brought the first opportunity for people to stay on the properties where they bought the food or drink they had.
At Pindar, Long Island's largest winery, picnic tables and umbrellas were set up all over the sprawling property. Owners say they had no issues with crowds.
"I've been reading all the Department of Health guidelines, so I made sure we were very prepared trying to follow everything that we were supposed to follow," says Alethea Damianos. "We moved a lot of tables off our deck to social distance. We made sure in the picnic area the tables were at least 10 feet apart because we have the property to do that."
Wineries and breweries set up one-way entrances and exits, hand sanitizing stations and spaced out tables out, among other safety precautions.
Wineries and breweries are still offering items to go, but tasting room sales where people buy and drink on site make up about two-thirds of their sales. East End wineries attract 1.3 million visitors each year.
"When you're actually here at the winery overlooking the vineyard and enjoying a glass or bottle of wine, it's a singular experience," says Kareem Massoud, of Paumanok Vineyards. "It's not the same as having that glass of wine at home or at a restaurant."
With many other major attractions in the area still closed like Splish Splash and Long Island Aquarium, winery and brewery owners held their breath, wondering if visitors would come.
Greg Martin, co-owner of Long Ireland Beer Company, says it was a beautiful sight seeing customers back at their outdoor beer garden.
"Having those moments of people being together -- besides the monetary and financial side of things -- it's the fabric that this whole thing is woven through," says Martin.
Indoor wine and beer tasting are not expected to be allowed until Phase 4 of reopening.