There was a story online recently about a winery in Mendocino County that was holding a blending part at the winery, which ended in multiple arrests. It seems that sheriff’s deputies responded to a call from the Highway Patrol and ended up in the middle of a bit of a fracas that involved the owner of the winery and some of the guests.
This incident showed how easy it is to over-imbibe at a winery event. In fact, it happens quite regularly, though usually it’s one or two of the guests that have had too much to drink, rather than the owner.
It’s important to remember that we are serving an alcoholic beverage and that once someone has started drinking his/her judgment is definitely impaired. We, as the hosts, as well as any employees, should not be drinking during the event. If we are standing up to make a speech or giving a toast, we will certainly have a glass in our hand and may even take a few sips, though we should severely limit our wine intake until we are snuggly settled in our own homes.
No one was hurt in this incident, but that was purely happenstance, and the publicity would not have been good if there had been injuries to anyone attending the event.
Wineries should have a clear, written policy about drinking while at work. The policy should apply to everyone at the winery, regardless of his/her position. Policies pertaining to drinking should be in the employee handbook and each employee should read the information prior to starting work. As time goes on, everyone should be reminded of these policies. If you don’t have these things in your employee handbook, it may be time to start writing.
I am sure that everyone is now out of jail, but there will still be fines to be paid and reparation of one sort or another to be made. And more importantly, I am sure there were guests that will probably not be going to next year’s blending part…
A tip of the glass from me to you!