PORTLAND, Oregon — Hilary Cadish and Halsey Schider are feeling the love from Oregon's wine country.
The two, who live in San Antonio, Texas, are among five engaged couples who told KGW Investigates they're out thousands of dollars after booking a wedding at Youngberg Hill Inn and Winery in McMinnville.
The couples, who connected with each other over social media, said they tried to reschedule because of COVID-19 but had issues with the winery and owner Nicolette Bailey.
"There are at least 20 other couples that we know of that we're actively emailing with and all feeling the same pain. So, this is kind of the tip of the iceberg," said Schider.
Bailey would not do an on-camera interview but said she and her team are being flexible and the venue can still host weddings safely under state guidelines. (read Bailey's full statement below)
Youngberg Hill is in Yamhill County, which is currently in phase two of reopening. Under the rules, outdoor venues can have events of up to 250 people with social distancing in place.
Cadish, Schider and the other couples said they did not feel comfortable having guests fly in from out of town.
Schider said they've already paid Youngberg $14,000 and it would have cost $8,400 to move the wedding to July 2021.
After our story, three different wineries offered to help all five couples.
Domaine de Broglie in Dayton offered a discount for the couples to get married on their property.
Bryn Mawr winery in Salem offered to waive the site fee.
The Stoller Wine Group offered their newly acquired venue, the Evergreen Space and Aviation Museum campus, with a chapel on the property, for free to any of the couples.
"We watched your story and then we got together as a team and we wanted to find a way that we can help make this right and offer people a space," said Michelle Kaufmann, the communications director at Stoller Wine Group.
Kaufman said she's not surprised other wineries also stepped up.
"It really goes back to the spirit of the Willamette Valley wine community and what we're known for," said Kaufman.
Cadish and Schider were touched by the offers.
"I mean, first and foremost, we're just so thrilled to even have people reaching out," said Schider. "It wasn't the purpose of the story but it is awesome to see in the midst of something like this, people come out and do the right thing and have that kindness."
Nicolette Bailey sent KGW the following statement regarding the complaints:
I know the situation this year has been challenging for many people all over the country. Many families who have small locally owned and operated businesses, like ours, are also greatly affected by this as well.
We have been and will continue to be as flexible as possible regarding our cancellation and postponement policies. Based on our contract we typically only allow rescheduling through the end of the calendar year; however, we have now extended it into 2021 to help as many people as we can. We have also extended our postponement options to anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable having a wedding this year, even though we can do their event. We are currently hosting weddings and events and following all the ordinances, CDC and OHA guidelines. We are fortunate that our event space is over 12,000 square feet so there is a lot of space to be safe and socially distance. We are also working with many other venues, supporting each other to offer successful and safe events.
On behalf of all the event venues who have been so horribly impacted, we appreciate your support.