March 2020: Washington Wine & our Temporary Reality

As the news surrounding COVID-19 changes daily, even hourly, we know you are doing everything you can to keep up, be safe, and protect your businesses. We are doing the same at the Washington State Wine Commission. In lieu of our normal monthly newsletter, we are dedicating this email to how the COVID-19 restrictions affect you, along with some resources to communicate and engage with our community and your customers. We are in this together.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced an emergency proclamation this week that mandates the temporary closing of restaurants, bars, entertainment and recreational facilities. We sent out a series of emails regarding how the WSLCB is responding, and you can refer to the latest email to get up-to-date information about current WSLCB restrictions & allowances.

The bottom line is that through March 31, and possibly longer:   All wineries and tasting rooms must be closed for in-person  tastings and events.

The following is permitted:

  1. Wine bottle/case sales to-go.
  2. Curbside sales and deliveries.
  3. All deliveries, including direct from winery to customer. Please follow these guidelines.
  4. Production activities.
  5. Wholesale activities.
  6. Returns of alcohol from a business to a distributor. More information here.


  1. FedEx has informed us that they are not requiring physical signatures for alcohol deliveries, but are still requiring the customer to show a valid ID. The FedEx driver will not touch the customer’s ID but they must show it to the driver.
  2. There has been some confusion as to whether or not you can allow customers to consume wine outside of your tasting room but still on your licensed winery premise. As of our understanding today the answer is, unfortunately, no. Under Gov. Inslee’s restrictions there is to be no consumption on your property (whether inside or outside).

We understand that these temporary restrictions will be challenging, but we have seen some really creative engagement from you already (shipping specials, complimentary hand-delivery, even supporting our friends in the restaurant industry by offering a discount on wine if a customer shows a take-out receipt). Our industry is strong, and will persevere through this.


The Washington Wine Institute (WWI) has collected information regarding Gov. Inslee’s plan for economic relief for businesses and workers impacted by the COVID 19 outbreak. You can view the latest here.

General Resources
Washington: Department of Health
National: CDC
Regional Travel & Tourism: Visit Seattle
Resources for Employers & Workers: Governor’s list of resourcesAssociation of Washington Business