Orange Coast Winery's
Majordomo Interviews Peter Swanson
May 27, 2021
Tuesday we promised you that we would answer all your questions in last week’s survey. Today we provide the answers to the rest of your questions.
Almost all of you found last week’s newsletter about Orange Coast Winery reopening issues useful. Many of you feel worried.
Majordomo: Our wine club members asked challenging questions last week.
Peter: We really appreciate the feedback. Thanks to all of you who are reading these newsletters.
Majordomo: On top of everyone's mind is: "Please provide realistic re-opening dates."
Peter: We will not announce a re-opening date that we cannot achieve, so we have not given one. Newport Beach is reviewing our proposed tasting room layout, and we await their feedback. Newport Beach continues to be helpful in finding a solution that will work for Orange Coast Winery.
Majordomo: Someone asked: "Will there still be food if you redo the kitchen?"
Majordomo: There were a number of questions regarding the impact to our capacity, if there is a smaller tasting room.
Peter: Regardless of our capacity, the goal of the reservation system is to ensure that your seats are available when you plan to come in for a wine tasting experience. The reservation system will give priority to our active club members, especially those who have stuck with us through the pandemic.
Majordomo: Several club members asked if it is more profitable for us to keep the tasting room closed.
Peter: That is absolutely not the case. Orange Coast Winery continues to lose a significant amount of money since our tasting room closure began. Since Orange Coast Winery is a family owned and operated business – Sheri and I are bearing that loss.
Majordomo: Those are all the questions we received, Do you have anything else to add?
Peter: We continue to receive and appreciate your well wishes:
- “WOW… what a journey…You have a lot of people rooting for you, including us. Any way we can help?”
- “Looking forward to drinking lots of bubbly when you get reopened!!!”
We will be back in your inbox next week with more information on one of the other topics selected by you.
Thank you for your continued support of Orange Coast Winery!
May 25, 2021
Majordomo here. This is our 2nd installment of my interviews with Peter Swanson regarding the re-opening of Orange Coast Winery. We will continue to provide you weekly updates, as promised.
In last week's installment, Peter dropped many pieces of heavy news on you regarding Newport Beach business permits, a smaller tasting room, and uncertainty about completion dates.
Peter asked for your feedback, and you provided quite a bit. We plan to address those questions in two emails: today and Thursday. Today we will discuss what has happened up to now. Thursday we will discuss your questions about our go-forward plan.
Majordomo: First question Peter. A club member asked, "How did we make previous changes without adhering to the codes?"
Peter: Those changes were made before our ownership. The original Orange Coast Winery was a winemaking facility with a small tasting room. As the popularity of the winery grew, the winemaking was moved to Temecula, and the tasting room quadrupled in size.
Majordomo: Another club member asked, "Have we considered another location?"
Peter: We looked at other locations. We found one, but Sheri and I could not afford to sign a second lease during the COVID shutdown. We still have 3-years left on the lease at our current location.
Majordomo: One of our members suggested that "Most people get permits before a remodel." How do we reply to that, Peter?
Peter: This is exactly what are doing: submit drawings for approval, receive permits, construction, inspection, receive Certificate of Occupancy, and re-open.
Majordomo: Did you consider contingencies, Peter?
Peter: We have and continue to consider many options to re-open. We believe the course we are taking makes the most sense for the business and gets us reopened faster. If you want a better understanding of our journey, please click this link, and read a timeline on our website.
Majordomo: Here's more of a statement than a question. "It seems we have been paying dues for a club with tasting capability, but since the sale, you are not a legal tasting company."
Peter: There appears to be two items to address in this statement:
First and foremost, Sheri and I have taken measures to operating legally since before we purchased Orange Coast Winery. The City of Newport Beach gave us permission to operate as we were looking for a solution. That solution is in progress: the zoning codes were changed in March, and now the building permits and certificate of occupancy are in progress.
Second, regarding tasting capability: Since we closed the tasting room, we granted our members double wine credits every month so you can try and enjoy more wine at home.
Majordomo: Here's a tough one, Peter. A customer said, "I think you have misled us for many months. I do love your wine and the ambiance when I visit, but I am concerned."
Peter: We have never tried to mislead you. The week that California issued its first stay-at-home order, the Newport Beach City Council instructed the planning department to solve our permit problem. We never imagined that 14 months later, we would still be working our way through this issue. The good news is progress has accelerated significantly in the last two months.
Majordomo: Peter, that completes the questions regarding what has happened in the last year or so. Our customers do seem frustrated.
Peter: The questions asked by our wine club members were both challenging and fair. The questions are appreciated. The frustration is understandable.
Majordomo: Before we wrap-up this email, Peter, do you have anything to add?
Peter: Sheri and I greatly appreciate the heartfelt comments of support from you:
- Just wishing you guys the best and looking forward to when you re-open
- I will wait for any info you are ready to share. Good luck with your business decisions!
- We miss you like crazy!
- Just want to know that you all will be OK. We don't want you to go anywhere.
Peter and Sheri: Thank you for your continued patience and support of Orange Coast Winery.
Majordomo: Later, this week we will share answers to the other questions you asked in last week’s survey. These will address the plans going forward.
Thank you & cheers!
May 19, 2021
I am Majordomo, your humble servant. According to Merriam -Webster, I am “(1) a head steward of a large household (2) butler, steward or (3) a person who speaks, makes arrangements, or takes charge for another."
Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Peter Swanson, Owner/Operator of Orange Coast Winery. We discussed numerous topics ranging from Orange Coast Winery reopening to a new wine club to the facilities fresh new look. Given the length of the discussion, I will be sharing excerpts over the next few weeks.
Let’s begin. (Note: this transcript has been edited down to the salient points. You know how Peter can ramble on.)
Majordomo: Hello Mr. Swanson. Thanks for being with us today.
Mr. Swanson: Hello Majordomo. Just call me Peter. Mr. Swanson is my dad.
Majordomo: Okay, Peter. Thank you for being with us today.
Peter: My pleasure.
Majordomo: The first question comes from your members: When will Orange Coast Winery reopen?
Peter: We do not know. We hope in 2-3 months.
Majordomo: How the heck do you not know, it’s been over a year? Why are you still closed?
Peter: We don’t have our permits yet. It’s very difficult to put a timeline on when you can get a permit.
Majordomo: What’s up with the permits?
Peter: Based on the size of our tasting rooms and the number of members and guests we have; the fire code requires us to add a fire prevention system – also known as sprinklers.
Majordomo: Will you add sprinklers?
Peter: Adding sprinklers is very expensive. The building owner is not interested in doing that because the majority of tenants do not require them. Installation would likely require digging up parts of parking lot and street.
Majordomo: Translated this means the landlord won’t help you make a building improvement and it could take a long time and a lot of money.
Majordomo: What are your options?
Peter: Sheri and I have talked about moving, downsizing, or just shutting down the business.
Majordomo: Wait! What? Are you closing?
Peter: No, no. We don’t want to close.
Majordomo: Thank goodness. What are you going to do?
Peter: We prepared a proposal to operate our tasting room in one bay without a sprinkler system. We made our initial proposal presentation to the City of Newport Beach on Monday.
Majordomo: Wait, why didn’t you do that during the height of the pandemic?
[We’ll explain that in more detail in a future section of this interview.]
Majordomo: How would that work?
Peter: To comply with fire safety standards, we would move our kitchen so members and guests would have access to two exits, one on each end of the space.
Majordomo: Wow – that sounds like a huge change.
Peter: It will be a different, but it will be amazing. Before we closed our tasting rooms, our layout and décor were somewhere between eclectic and hodgepodge. Now we have the chance to make a fresh interior design while maintaining the popular vibe of an urban winery.
Majordomo: Thank you readers for your attention and understanding. We will continue to share the rest of our interview with Mr. Swanson, I mean Peter, over the coming weeks. He will share the zoning and permitting woes, new wine clubs, the fresh new winery layout, and the new member/guest experience.
If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you & cheers!
April 2, 2021
Virtually everyone is asking "When will Orange Coast Winery reopen?" What a great question and we wish we had a precise answer.
As we explained in our previous newsletter titled "Thank you for your patience", we have 3 hurdles to jump before we may reopen. Hurdles 1 (rezoning) and 2 (Orange Tier) are completed. We have one remaining hurdle to clear before we may reopen:
Permits: The final hurdle is our City Permits which we are actively working on with the City Planning Department. There is a checklist of items that must be completed and inspected. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to put a date or schedule on this process, however the City is working to expedite the permits.
Please watch our newsletters and website for the latest information. And
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!
The Quick Message
Sunday (March 21st) marked 53 weeks since the pandemic required us to shut down. How does one year and one week go by so quickly and so slowly?
We know you are looking forward to tasting wine again at Orange Coast Winery. Every day we receive calls, emails, and messages asking when we will reopen. Thank you!
Unfortunately, we do not know the answer yet. Please read our detailed explanation below:
The Detailed Explanation
We are sure many of you cannot believe we do not have a date yet. Believe me; we want to provide an answer, but we have multiple hurdles to clear. We all know about the pandemic, and some of you may know we are also trying to sort out zoning/permit matters with the City of Newport Beach.
- Pandemic: Orange County is close to moving to the less restrictive Orange tier. We have always said we will abide by State, County, and City guidelines. According to the State's four-level Blueprint for a Safer Economy, wine tasting rooms can reopen at 25% capacity once the Orange tier is reached.
- Zoning: For those who have followed the history of Orange Coast Winery, you know that Sheri and I took over at the beginning of 2020. When filing for our permits, we learned that our neighborhood is zoned for winemaking but not a stand-alone tasting room. Last night, after 18 months of uncertainty, the Newport Beach City Council gave final approval to a zoning amendment paving the way for us to get our permits.
- Permits: The final hurdle is our City Permits which we are actively working on with the City Planning Department. There is a checklist of items that must be completed and expected. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to put a date or schedule on this process, however the City is working to expedite the permits.
This makes it very difficult for us to set an opening date, but please know that as soon as we know, YOU WILL know.
Finally, please allow us to express our gratitude for all of you who have continued to support us. You are helping to keep the lights on and the wine flowing. We are working hard every day to reopen our doors.
We will provide another reopening update within 2 weeks.
Since we cannot just send bad news, we promise we will send some great news later this week. Be on the lookout for announcements of new wines and a new club benefit.
Peter & Sheri Swanson
Orange Coast Winery Tasting & Member’s Rooms will remain closed until Orange County reaches at a minimum the Moderate (Orange) level. At this level Wineries are allowed to open at a 25% capacity, which may not be cost effective for our business. Please subscribe to our newsletter or check our website for the latest reopening information.
Orange Coast Winery is not allowed to set up an outdoor tasting area due to our contract with our landlord and the heavy traffic of semi-trucks and other industrial vehicles around our establishment.
You may check the Orange County Blueprint for a Safer Economy here: https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/
These are the restrictions for Wineries:
Widespread (purple): Wineries and tasting rooms: Outdoor only with modifications
Substantial (red): Wineries and tasting rooms: Outdoor only with modifications
Moderate (orange): Indoor with modifications; Capacity must be limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is less
Minimal (yellow): Wineries and tasting rooms: Indoor with modifications; Capacity must be limited to 50% or 200 people, whichever is less
October 7, 2020
We are approaching 7-months since our tasting rooms were closed. Dang I miss you all and that beloved OCW Vibe!
Here are a few facts about reopening:
OCW can not reopen until Orange County moves into the Third Tier of California's reopening framework. This tier is known as the Moderate or Orange Tier. Two weeks ago, Orange County was close to moving to Tier 3 based on decreasing COVID cases. Unfortunately, since then, cases are growing again.
We will be offering a different wine tasting experience when we reopen because we will only be able to operate at 25% capacity. One big change will be appointment only with specific seating times. Once the state signals we can reopen, we will need 2-3 weeks to prepare, bring back staff, and train them on the new wine tasting experience.
I know we all have COVID fatigue and want to get back to our old normal. Unfortunately, when we reopen, there will be a new normal. Please continue to be patient as we reopen slowly and safely.
In the meantime, please do those curbside pick-ups. We have plenty of wine in stock and more new releases in the coming months. Take advantage of that purchasing power you earned with double credits.
Peter "Majordomo" and Sheri Swanson
Welcome to the 3rd UNCORKED
AN ELEVATED EXPERIENCE IS ON THE HORIZON
We’re taking everything you care most about OCW and making it better than ever. Our REIMAGINED Orange Coast Winery will have a new, enhanced membership program with a streamlined system and various ways for members to earn even more wine (among other enriched benefits.) We are redesigning and expanding our tasting rooms with a brand-new space designated for member-exclusive events. We are adding many more wine varietals from exciting new regions.
What we have in the works will elevate your experience for years to come.
As explained in our recent monthly Wine Wave Newsletters, we did process our wine clubs on the 1st:
In these uncertain times, we know many of you will want to put your membership on hold or cancel it outright. If you need to do either, we understand.
Doubling your wine purchase should easily offset the lost privilege of complimentary wine tasting.
No Action Necessary to Participate
Club runs (both regular and bonus) will be done automatically for active members who have an active credit card on file.
If you don’t want to be charged, you must cancel your membership or put it on hold before the end of the month by emailing us at email@example.com.
Bonus Credit must be used within 6 months of our re-open date.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all,
Groupon Customers: Orange Coast Winery will honor the full value of your groupon up to 6 months after we reopen. We look forward to meeting you in the near future!
Orange Coast Winery | 869 W 16th St, Newport Beach, CA 92663
+1 (949) 645-0400
Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, noon - 6:00 pm