Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

You Take What You Get

By Doug Fabbioli

You Take What You Get

Over the past few decades we have had some great times growing a culture and an economy around agriculture. Combining history, open spaces, celebrations, weekend getaways, retreats, culinary artistry, craft beverages, performing arts, and nature in a way that allows us to create a respite zone for our urban neighbors and for ourselves is more than just a job. Our agri-tourism industry and all of the wonderful venues we have is proof that we have had great success. This spring has been more of a challenge than usual, and as we start to reopen our barns and lands to our guests, cautious hospitality will be an overriding theme. As much as we want to welcome everyone and return everything back to “normal”, rushing it is the worst thing we can do.

The staff members at the different venues of our rural economy have had to learn more than they ever planned to about sanitation, social distancing, personal protection equipment, and communicative diseases. The learning curve has been tremendous and now we must apply that learning to our policies and practices, and pass that learning on to our guests as we begin to open our doors a bit. The policies as well as the spaces themselves will be different and evolving. We will each learn what works best for our business, in consideration of the regulations and the safety of all involved.

We want to be as hospitable as possible but hugging everybody right now is just not a good idea. A more cautious approach will have to do. At Fabbioli Cellars, our outdoor seating areas have plenty of space to spread out and we are implementing a reservation system with minimum purchases. We are very grateful to the wine club and other folk who have purchased wine over the past few months. That income allowed us to keep the farm functioning through this challenge. We now need to manage the reopening process in a way that is responsible to our staff, our guests, and the community.

On a side note, Mother’s Day was not very happy for a number of farmers in the Mid Atlantic region. Count us in with them. We were frosted rather hard that morning and lost a significant percentage of our 2020 grape crop. We have been through it before, and we will survive this as well.

So here we go, hoping the case numbers stay low, the visitors stay balanced, and our businesses weather this storm in a way that makes sustainability a reality. Remember, we are farmers so we are used to challenges, having to adapt, thinking of others, and being humbled by Mother Nature. We are farmers, and we will continue to feed others. It is our job, yes, but it is also a passion and a labor of love.

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