The acclaimed wine critic Michael Broadbent once said, “Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life's most civilized pleasures."
Few understand this civilized pleasure more than the staff at Glacial Till Vineyard & Winery. Throughout a typical summer, Glacial Till hosts an array of events, including Fermented Fridays.
Despite the complications presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, Glacial Till is still pushing full steam ahead with its annual outdoor festivities. With certain precautions taken, Fermented Fridays will provide an opportunity to escape the pressures of an unprecedented time in history.
For the last eight years, Glacial Till has hosted Fermented Fridays every summer from June through August. During these events, the midwest vineyard, located in Palmyra, features food trucks, craft breweries and two to three live band performances for the enjoyment of locals looking to get away from the city.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that small businesses and outdoor event coordinators limit the number of spectators, depending on space available. Venues also require reservations, in order to reduce the amount of person to person interaction.
Mike Murman, the president and co-owner of Glacial Till, said everyone at the vineyard takes these guidelines very seriously. Per a state health directive, Fermented Fridays have been switched to reservation only. Employees are also encouraged to wear face masks. Any food or beverage offered at the event is served in single use containers to prevent possible contamination.
“In the past, we had an open gate, so it was hard to estimate the number of people who might come out,” Murman said. “With COVID-19, we require reservations in advance so staffing can be ready for the numbers attending. It’s been really positive, and our guests like the fact that the crowds aren’t as big.”
Event coordinator Malorie Clark said that despite the vineyard having only hosted a few reservation-only Fermented Fridays so far, the public has responded fairly well, adhering to the new stipulations while safely having fun.
“So far we’ve observed a positive response, guests who reserve their spots are able to come out here and experience a Fermented Friday that is less crowded than typical Fermented Fridays in years past,” Clark said. “I see our guests being responsible and taking care to be safe around other guests as well.”
Both Murman and Clark said that since the event’s genesis in 2012, local wine lovers have enjoyed the chance to unwind in a tranquil atmosphere surrounded by the sloping hillside of Glacial Till. Clark and Murman expressed gratitude in the fact that they are still able to provide guests with the simple pleasures of good food, good wine and live music as they have for nearly a decade now.
“We are so thankful that, given this event is outdoors, the integrity of Fermented Fridays is not drastically affected by COVID,” Clark said. “The biggest changes are in capacity restrictions, the ways that we encourage social distancing and the extra measures our staff is taking when serving customers. I think people love getting out of town and enjoying the music and picturesque environment.”