Updated: May 31
As has been noted in publications across the globe, many small businesses are struggling to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, wineries are not immune to the effects of new restrictions and lower than usual sales, especially during what is often a busy season. If you are able, supporting a local business can be a great way to feel that you are helping during these trying times.
If you have the means and ability to support your favorite wineries, we recommend trying several of the following options below.
1. Order Wine
So many wineries rely on direct-to-consumer sales. With many closed to visitors and/or not allowed to offer tastings, they are struggling to keep afloat. Probably the most obvious way to support your favorite wineries is to buy wine from them! Many wineries offer no-contact pickup options for customers who live close by and more than ever, wineries have expanded their shipping operations to be able to reach a wide variety of customers.
It’s always a good call to check out your local city and state rules about alcohol shipments, but we have found it fairly easy to get wine shipped from our favorite places and have it arrive in perfect condition right at our door. Many locations have also relaxed their typical regulations to simplify the shipping procedures and assist small businesses during this time.
If your wine cellar/closet/fridge is already overfull, another option is to order a shipment of wine to friends or family members as a gift to brighten their day.
Earlier this month, we ordered a shipment of Pinot Gris to my grandmother’s apartment to celebrate Mother’s Day. This way, although we couldn’t be there in person, we were still able to show that we are thinking of her and provide a practical gift she’ll use!
2. Take a Wine Class
Do you have burning, unanswered questions about your favorite varietal? Maybe you’re not quite ready for sommelier training, but you’re looking to up your wine knowledge and awareness.
Lucky for you, many wineries have been offering a variety of virtual educational programs, classes, and other content to help us learn and expand our knowledge while at home. For instance, Little Washington Winery in Washington, VA offers its Foodie-U Wine School, which has a variety of different courses for food and wine enthusiasts to enjoy. Many wineries advertise their programs directly, through local winegrower associations, or wine event websites, like LocalWineEvents.com.
If you’re looking for something more in-depth, many traditional wine schools have transitioned to online bring-your-own-beverage (BYOB) – style alternatives. Currently, my mother is taking the international Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 2 Award in Wine course, which has adapted to the pandemic to allow its students to take its final exams virtually, with remote proctoring, from the comfort of their own homes.
3. Spread Awareness
Another simple way to support your favorite wineries during this time is to talk them up. If friends ask you for wine recommendations, you can suggest a place that you personally know and love.
On our blog, we frequently write posts about wineries where we have had great experiences. This enables us to show them that we appreciate the time and care that they put into their products as well as provide them with some publicity.
If you have social media accounts, you can also use them as a platform to brag about your favorite wineries and why you prefer their wine. By spreading awareness about your preferred spots, you might convince a friend to shop there for the first time and put a great new find on his/her radar.
4. Try Somewhere New
While we greatly suggest supporting the wineries you enjoy, it can also be a good move to order wine from a vineyard you’ve never explored before, perhaps that a friend has recommended to you.
Particularly now, as many people are fall into ruts of doing the same things each day, trying out a new winery can be a simple way to expand your horizons and shake things up. Waiting for a shipment to come in from a winery you haven’t tasted before can provide a great little dose of excitement and anticipation. We just ordered Zinfandel from a winery in Sonoma we’ve never tried before but is supposed to be similar to the Zinfandels from a winery we really like. We’re looking forward to trying it.
If you’re hesitant about trying a winery you have no connection with since you’re not sure if you’ll like its wine, one option is to order wine from a “sister winery” of a place that you know you already enjoy. Often, sister wineries benefit from the same winemaker or use similar winemaking techniques. Thus, you might have better luck in finding varietals you enjoy by ordering from the same family of wineries as one that you are previously familiar with.
By doing this, you could get great ideas on a new winery to explore once things reopen, learn about a type of wine you’re less knowledgeable about, and even end up with a future go-to spot.
Ultimately, these are strange times ahead for all of us. If we can, any small steps we can take to support local businesses we enjoy can be an immense help to them. We hope that the suggestions above provide a few ideas on how to support your favorite wineries. We’d also love to hear any other ideas to assist your favorite local businesses. Feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback, recommendations, or questions!
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