PLACERVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) — If you’re looking for a pandemic-proof day trip, Boeger Winery — just under halfway between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe — knows a thing or two about navigating shutdowns.
Just ask the family that revived this 1850s farmstead and winery 40 years after the effects of prohibition brought wine making in El Dorado County to a standstill.
While it’s not shocking that a lot has changed over the last 170 years, what has thrown the Boeger family a curve ball is how much has changed in just the last fourth months.
“It’s required us to completely rethink our business model and how we interact with the public,” vintner Justin Boeger said.
The winery’s tasting room was once the center of activity but things have moved outdoors, per state regulations.
“Now we have a full garden, everything is spaced apart safely and it’s working really well,” Boeger tour guide Alison Youmans said.
Though the surrounding Apple Hill district is not yet open for the season, Boeger still sees a steady stream of guests. They’re using an online reservation system to help manage it, operating as more of a restaurant than a bar to comply with safety restrictions.
“The idea for us is to share the wines,” Youmans said. “We felt we were going to lose a little bit of that. It’s actually worked out well. We’ve staffed up.”
That’s something you don’t hear businesses say very often in this time of closures and cutbacks, but Boeger says he’s happy with the results.
“When someone comes and visits they get almost a more personalized experience because you’re not competing with 200 people anymore we only have 14 tables that we seat,” he said.The winery offers extra Friday night seating with live music and a pack-your-own-picnic option, and monthly “Woga” — wine and yoga in the pear vineyard planted by the descendants of the original owners.