Clarrification: No Reservations Needed nor Taken


We received a lot of calls for reservations today (Friday 9/25) and I just wanted to clarify – we aren’t taking reservations. We tried it – it didn’t work.

If it gets really busy on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, we’ll do a waitlist with text-back notification.

And a reminder – we can’t do groups bigger than 7 right now. If you’ve got a big group, a subset may come in to get Take Out Flights for the rest.

And if I can figure out where it says to call us for reservations, I’ll try to get it fixed.

Standing Down From Code RED


We are standing down from our Code RED Tasting Room plan. The biggest change will be that we will be going back to up to 5 samples Face-Face at the counter. We’ll also have some more flexibility with youth-too-big-to-carry-but-under-21, but when we fill up the barn space, we will still request they wait outside.

A single day spike in the number of reported local Covid cased caused by a change in reporting has rippled it’s way through the 7 day rolling average filter that I and other websites use, and it’s possible to now see the size of the the underlying surge that happened at the same time. And while in some WI counties it’s very large, in Kenosha, it’s 2-3X the prior new case rate. While not great, it’s not RED territory, either.

Things that make cider-pourers panic.

We post a graphic from each week in the Tasting Room as a visual aid, but your cidermaker also builds his own graphs from the same database. (And does side explorations of the data I won’t detail here.) Today’s is pasted above.

The Y axis is the 7-day rolling average smoothed daily new cases per 100,000 people. The X-axis is total cases since the start of the pandemic per 100K. It’s overlaid by county. Using these axes gives me a quick overview of both how fast spread is at a given time and how deep it’s penetrated into a county at one glance. I use new cases because it’s a leading indicator – I’d rather be looking forward than at metrics that describe how well counties are handling the burden right now (hospital cases and beds), or metrics of past tragedy (deaths).

Cross-checking WI DHS public data against the CDC reveals what happened – other than Covid. On 9/15, the numbers for the counties that spike change from matching the WI DHS Confirmed Cases number to matching the CDC Total Cases number. Total = Confirmed + Probable. Now the difference is only 5%. 19/20 cases are confirmed. But the difference, built up since March, appears in one day. Boom. And it’s such a big jump that it breaks the predefined color bands in my script – hence the white portion. Interestingly, it doesn’t happen in all counties in WI. And it has happened in other states’ data at other times since spring. But I think this is the biggest in the dataset.

So what did we learn?

  • Firstly, that we can run the Tasting Room under our Code RED restrictions. Nothing like putting a plan to a real test. Most people were understanding and co-operative. THANK YOU! We actually had a record sales week.
  • Secondly, I wish we had better way to handle families with youth who come to the orchard, and then to us. That’s a work-in-progress, but we have finite square feet and ventilation, and on a September or October Saturday afternoon, we just run out.
  • Thirdly, encouraging folks to take a flight outside really helped with waiting for a counter spot. Something to think about for the future.
  • Fourthly, your humble ciderwright should wait 1 day before panicking. I don’t actually follow these graphs every day for that very reason. One day’s data isn’t enough. The second day either follows the trend – or makes one start asking hard, but interesting, questions.

That’s the update. Thanks for reading, and I hope to have a sip with you soon.

Change To Reservations


It turns out that trying to do online reservations just isn’t working, so I’ve removed it from the website.

It seemed like a good idea, but we just don’t have a good (read ‘any’) way to close the loop and figure out who has appeared and is waiting, versus who has appeared and gotten served without making themselves known. I’m keeping the waitlist service in case we need it in October – just not the self-registration ahead of time portion.

Also, with the changes to Face-Face tasting that we’ve done because of Covid, we’re actually getting people in and out much faster than in prior years and waits are way down.

As a reminder, right now the biggest group we can handle at one time is 7, and we’re asking under 21s that aren’t being carried to wait outside unless you’re the only visitors at the time,

I’ll be posting a Covid status update this Thursday, I think. I figured out what caused a single day 30X spike, and while there -has- been an uptick locally (in addition to the glitch), I’ve got my fingers crossed Kenosha will drop back under the 25/100K daily new cases that’s my RED Line.



As of 9/15/10, the whole area experienced a large spike in new cases. “Large” as in Kenosha reporting 220/100K new cases when the running average had been 7/100K.

So we are tightening our operating plan:

  • We are asking that all tastings be the 6 for $5 To Go Tastings. We will be a little flexible, but please work with us.
  • Also, please pick up a Tasting Sheet and/or Flight Idea Guide and make your selections before coming up to the bar.
  • Please have non-tasters wait outside, including children and people ‘just looking’. We’re trying really hard to limit exposure – and you wouldn’t bring children to a bar, would you?

New: Waitlist


We’ve added a Waitlist.Me waitlist to the bottom of the website page.
Please bear with us, this will be a learning experience for all of us.
The ‘reservations’ are turned on, but that’s so you can put yourself at the top of the waitlist in advance – we aren’t doing firm reservations.

So far, we’ve only needed a waitlist for Saturday afternoons – but we shall see.

WI Executive Order 72 Compliance


Summary: as we are By Appointment this time of year anyway, we will continue accepting Appointments – but for pick-up only. No tastings.

If we have multiple requests, we’ll space them out so people don’t overlap. And we’ll see what May brings.

We’re also revisiting Direct to Consumer shipping. I’ll post if we get a system set up.

These are both novel and trying times. Certainly there are few among us who can share memories of 1918. And I certainly hope the world is more capable than a century ago. Take care of each other and stay healthy.