The latest government response to the rising numbers of coronavirus cases has required restaurants and tasting rooms in Washington State, Oregon, and California to once again shutter their doors to indoor service. Now everyone keeps saying over and over, “The holidays are going to look different this year,” which, frankly, makes me want to scream. In my mind, if you’re going to state the obvious it should be, “We’re going to need more wine!” In fact, how about if we make a pledge to locally owned wineries?
Even before the latest restrictions, wineries faced serious struggles. One day into my work with Seattle Urban Wineries, one of the locally owned establishments announced its permanent closure. Yesterday I received an email from an Oregon winery noting that a mandated closure immediately results in a loss of 40% of revenue. These are clearly dire times for independent businesses and the people behind them.
The good news is that wine is essential! Therefore, local purveyors of the secret sauce that’s going to get us through these days confined in our homes are able to offer curbside pickup, delivery, and shipping.
Leslie Dines recently wrote an article for Forbes outlining a consumer pledge drafted by a Facebook Group called Seattle Restaurant Support. Since wine and restaurants go hand in hand, much of the pledge could easily be adapted for wineries. I PLEDGE to buy lots of gift cards for friends and family, and essential workers! I PLEDGE to take pics….and tag the businesses, giving as many positive endorsements across as many social media platforms as possible. I pledge to share this and encourage everybody to do the same. I PLEDGE to be patient and kind.
Let’s take a pledge to support locally owned wineries. Pick even one of these and you can make a difference. Note that there are things you can do that won’t even cost you anything beyond your time (and we have plenty of that, right?)!
A Pledge to Locally Owned Wineries
I pledge to….
Buy wine directly from the wineries.
Margins are slim in the wine business, and direct sales go further toward sustaining a business. The next best thing is purchasing wine from a locally owned wine merchant or restaurant.
Give wine this season.
It’s going to be a welcome gift!
Purchase gift cards.
Bonus points for donating them to essential workers!
Spread the word.
Leave a nice review for wineries you’ve patronized. Since these are trying times for everyone, it’s understandable that purchasing wine may not be an option. However, sharing positive experiences you’ve had previously still helps get the word out about these businesses.
Follow wineries on social media.
Like, comment, and share their posts!
Host a virtual tasting.
As part of a way to sustain my own small business during this time, I’ve been organizing virtual tastings that highlight local and/or family owned wineries. This is a great way to get together with friends, family, or coworkers while learning more about our State’s magnificent wine regions and producers. Tastings can include:
Join a wine club.
Wine club membership is one of the best ways to receive the greatest savings on wines. The way it works is that wineries allocate a certain amount of wines to their club members. These wines are released at a designated frequency – annually, quarterly, or monthly for example. Wine clubs are usually free to join, and charge members when the wine is released. Although membership benefits vary from winery to winery, they typically include:
Discounts on wine purchases.
Special wines crafted exclusively for members.
Release events. Although in the Before Times, these could be festive parties, some wineries are currently creating fun virtual events for club members.