In October, the Grade II listed building was the venue for a two-day in-person trade wine tasting organised by Union Des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB). The London tasting’s theme was 2018 vintage.
The client was unable to host their event at another venue and on short notice Church House Westminster was recommended to UGCB having witnessed the venue’s COVID-secure measures during a virtual site visit.
Pre-event communication regarding the Westminster venue’s safety measures along with an informative video and links to a dedicated website of the venue were distributed to attendees to explain COVID-secure measures that the venue has implemented. This ensured that visitor’s expectations matched the venue’s measures for safe events.
On-trade visitors registered for the tasting prior to the event and for each session an allocated arrival time slot was awarded for entry.
Staggered arrival and departure times allowed the minimum number of delegates in front and inside the venue. At the entrance at North Door temperature checks was in operation and so was checking that everyone was wearing a mask (unless exempt). It is also at the entrance where delegates were able to check in using the NHS Test and Trace QR code allowing contactless entry.
The five largest rooms of the venue were set up in a classroom style with a maximum of 30 people in each room (including staff). Many would think of a wine tasting in the traditional sense of walking around a room from producer to producer. Not for this tasting. Every visitor was guided to an individual table for the session and wines were served by a member of staff, wearing PPE. Tasting tables observed a 2-m physical distance in front, and behind and beside each desk. On every desk was a small spittoon, which was then emptied into larger containers filled with sawdust and these containers were emptied and sanitised after each session. In another first, a long table in the centre of each room accommodated all the wine bottles.
The five rooms of the venue’s 19 versatile event spaces were in use on rotation during the event, as 340 attendees were scheduled to attend the wine tasting over the two days.
Following planning of the layout in advance, one-way systems were clearly indicated by signage. Additional safety measures were in place as standard, such as enhanced cleaning.
On the day of the event
Union Des Grands Crus de Bordeaux provided staff, wearing PPE, to facilitate the wine tasting in each room.
Members of staff from Church House Westminster were on hand to assist with wayfinding. To safely facilitate breaks, the one-way system was also adhered to get to and from the restrooms. The facilities were hygienically cleaned at regular intervals. As visitors completed their tasting, they orderly followed the exit route towards the venue’s South Door.
Visitors gave the venue five stars on Google My Business following their Covid-secure venue experience.
Sue Glasgow remarked, “Thank you and your wonderful team for helping me pull off our Bordeaux wine tasting. It’s been such a difficult time planning any live event with restrictions changing daily but your willingness to support me and make this work in a challenging environment was commendable and very much appreciated. Everyone was loving the new seated format, despite restrictions”.
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