By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
BARODA — April is wine month, and a winery in Baroda is making a few changes.
The Round Barn Winery may be 24 years old, but the second-generation business is changing the tastings of its wine and spirits in reserved tasting sessions that last 45 minutes. In past visits to Round Barn, people have had to squeeze to the counter for a tasting at the wine bar. But like most wineries, the tastings sometimes feel rushed if there is a busy weekend.
The new reservation-only tasting format is not open to the public until April 30.
Jessica Schueneman, retail sales director at Round Barn, said the new wine-tasting format will be similar to a restaurant style serving experience. Schueneman said they have a waiting room to listen to music and drink wine or beer.
“Before it was first come, first served,” Schueneman said. “It was getting so busy, we felt our level of customer service wasn’t what we wanted. We wanted to go back to what Round Barn started by focusing on the customer and having a real conversation about the wine, rather than just walking away after pouring.”
The winery, formerly known as Heart of the Vineyard, takes its name from the round barn that was moved from the Rochester, Ind., area and restored by Amish craftsmen.
The tasting will be slightly different. Schueneman said the previous tastings came with a souvenir wine glass and six tasting tokens. Each token could be exchanged for a sample of anything available on Round Barn’s tasting guide.
Now it will be for the souvenir wine glass and seven tastings for $15 per person. Among those seven will be pre-selected choices with a dry and a sweet option. Schueneman said a cocktail will be included to feature the “spirit of the month.”
One of the biggest changes is the renovated upper portion of the Round Barn, which now includes six “suites” – each one holding 15 people. During the 45-minute tasting session, each suite forms a U-shaped seating arrangement. No renovations were down in the downstairs portion of the winery, but Schueneman said they did add bar stools.
The suites will also be filled by availability.
“Say you have a group of five and make a reservation for a section that holds 15,” Schueneman said. “We will fill it in with everyone else. It’s not completely private. At the start of that reservation, we’ll still do the tasting if it’s not full.”
Reservations can be made on the winery’s website at www.roundbarnwinery.com or by phone at 800-716-9463.