On-call etiquette

What to know before dialing up Oregon’s appointment-only wineries

By Emily Grosvenor

By Appointment Only—three words that may give a wine traveler pause. Will you be welcome at their doorstep? Absolutely. But some general courtesy ensures a great experience for all.

Historically, appointment only wineries were small operations, with a small staff. While couples might be able to squeeze in with less than a day’s notice, calling ahead is appreciated, and such courtesy is generally required for larger groups.

Today, COVID-19 has changed the ways we all travel and the kind of preparation that’s needed to do so. Many medium and large wineries have also found that the appointment only model better allows them to provide their best service, resulting in the best experience for you. After all, it’s possible that the winemaker will be the one pouring.

“When people come here, I want to be the one sharing the stories,” says Tony Rynders, winemaker at Tendril Wine Cellars, an appointment-only operation in Gaston. Such intimate tastings often last 60-90 minutes, with guests purchasing anything from a single bottle to a few cases. Though tasting fees can vary, they’re generally waived upon purchase of a certain level. And the personal relationships fostered can inspire lasting benefits, from entry into in-house wine clubs to inclusion on winemakers’ private newsletter lists.

So when you see that a winery offers visits “by appointment only,” know that you are welcome. To ensure you receive their full attention, and you theirs, they just appreciate a heads-up before you arrive.

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