The Afternoon News with Kitty O'Neal

The Afternoon News with Kitty O'Neal

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Friday Food: How Folsom's New Willamette Microwinery Copes with COVID-19


Listen: Laura Kotowicz, the Manager at Willamette Wineworks on Sutter Street talks about opening and then having to pivot under COVID-19 restrictions.


We’ve seen how local businesses are coping to survive the coronavirus shutdown. 

 - What about a long-anticipated business that’s so new it hadn’t even had its grand opening before needing to close its doors?

Just two weeks after Willamette Wineworks  received its final approvals to open in the brand-new Roundhouse building on Folsom’s Historic District plaza on Feb. 28, the business was forced to temporarily close to comply with California’s coronavirus restrictions for wineries and bars.

The railroad-themed Roundhouse had been in the works since before the 2008 recession. The microwinery’s widely anticipated opening finely felt tangible when more than 300 wine enthusiasts raised a toast to Willamette Wineworks’ future during the building’s roof-raising celebration in February 2018. Plans were in place for a mid-April grand opening. And then COVID-19 hit. 

About Willamette Wineworks:

-It’s the region’s only tasting room with a microwinery where guests can blend their own red and white wines from the barrel using California varietals—a fun concept in experiential tasting.

-Wine and food pairings from Scott’s Seafood are featured in a comfortable lounge area overlooking Old Folsom.

-Locals have looked forward to the opening of Willamette Wineworks for years, and it was already proving to be a popular Sutter Street gathering spot. The company intends to build on that momentum.

This week, Willamette Wineworks is kicking off a curbside wine pick-up service on Saturdays, introducing online winetasting, and creating partnerships with local restaurants offering food take-out.

“We’re hearing from wine enthusiasts who want to replenish their wine cabinets for their stay-at-home meals and take-out food. Many of us are also trying to educate ourselves on new subjects while we stay at home,” said Laura Kotowicz, manager of Willamette Wineworks. “So we’re bringing Willamette Valley Vineyards wines to them in a new way.

“They can remain socially distanced and still enjoy some of their favorite wines at home. Our concept at Willamette Wineworks is based on experiential tasting. For now, people will be doing that in their living rooms.”

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