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How Winefest Des Moines is adapting to COVID-19 pandemic

The festive event is adapting to the new normal.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Its pretty tough to wear a mask and drink wine.

Winefest has come up with a way for you to enjoy their wine flights at home, to the tune of $50,000 into the local economy.

It seems pretty simple, plan a dinner, patrons can pick up at 5 

Add a bottle or two of wine, get home by 6. 

Then Facebook Live a wine tasting with sommoliers and local restaurant owners, perhaps even the winemakers themselves.

"I thought it was a genius idea I was already trying to figure out how to do it with very limited staff," CJ Bienert of the Cheese Shop and Cheese Bar said. "We went from about 23 down to 6 employees between two businesses "

So Winefest and executive director Natasha Sayles approached the restaurants about doing it for them.s.

Winefest is a non-profit. But Sayles says they have a rainy day fund.

So they are coordinating the virtual wine flights at no cost to the restaurants.

So far they've hosted fifteen wine flights with 11 restaurants, totaling 651 dinners.  That means $54,791 to local restaurants.

Bienert said even as his restaurant is allowed to re-open, it's not in a way that is sustainable.

Virtual events are keeping him afloat. 

And as for the rest of Winefest's events, they've been moved to August and September.

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