Coronavirus disrupts life worldwide. For wine world, however, the situation has meant boom rather than bust.
Brick and mortar wine stores see in-store increases in sales. E-commerce wine sellers see sales go through the roof.
Italy, hit hard by the virus, experienced unprecedented surge in wine demand. Industry experts report sales up 240% in Rome, 220% in Florence.
United Kingdom online seller that specializes in New Zealand wines reports sales comparable to Christmas.
Leading Australian wine store chain reports booming sales, significant increases in online purchases by people who never had been customers before.
U.S. online leader wine.com says sales doubled one week compared to the previous year, then the next week tripled over previous year. People bought slightly cheaper wines, but more bottles and larger bottles. Vivino, another online seller and world’s most downloaded wine app, had 300% grow year-over-year on March 13. U.S. sales are up 170%; Italian sales up 282%.
NakedWines, a United Kingdom online seller in U.S. market, had to pause taking orders to ensure they could continue to serve existing customers. They resumed shipping after ramping up operations.
Drizly, which calls itself the Amazon for beer, wine, and spirits, reported 500% increase in new customers, and 125% increase in sales from existing customers.
Mixed bag for wineries. Precipitous drop in tasting room sales—many are closed altogether—while some increase in e-commerce.
Several states relaxed rules on “to-go” sales of alcohol by restaurants. Typically, beverage must be in its original container. Rules on delivery to consumers also relaxed, both to consumer’s homes and curbside at the restaurant. When the going gets tough, people find ways to cope. Please fill my glass again.
• Martini & Rossi Prosecco DOC NV: Simple easy drinker, on sweeter end of extra dry, which will please folks who shun dry wines. $11-13 Link to my review
• Beringer Bros. Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon 2016: Rich, ripe fruits. Very smooth. Effective use of current vogue/fad of bourbon barrel aging. $15-18 Link to my review
• Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2016: Rich, bold, complex. Fresh red fruit interplays with classic dusty Rutherford tannins. Splurge. $115-150 Link to my review
Last round: I decided to reward myself with a hard-earned bottle of wine after a long week. Then realized it was Tuesday. Close enough during COVID-19 crisis. Pull the cork. It is called “sheltering in place,” and it is our civic duty.