Back in early February we warned about the negative implications of global warming on the wine industry. The blog points out that grapes are very sensitive to climate change and therefore many winemakers have personal interest in reducing their carbon footprint (read it here). Igor Sill from California Ag Today notes some positive changes in Napa County such as the increase in Oak Trees which each absorb 48 tons of carbon annually. He also says that many vineyards are conscious not to use chemical fertilizers and to limit water pollution.
It seems like just yesterday that global warming was the biggest problem wineries faced. Now, it feels minor relative to the newest struggle: staying afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. According to the Napa Valley Register, tasting rooms are quite fragile. Where before they accounted for almost 30% of sales, now these rooms are closed and cannot be a pipeline for business. This is especially apparent for smaller wineries that depend upon tasting rooms to generate their business.
The pandemic has forced this traditional industry to tap into more modern marketing channels. Many wineries have started opening up their social media platforms and placed heavier emphasis on e-commerce. Quintessa, for example, uses Instagram Live for their feature “Wine Maker Wednesday.” While this change was forced upon wineries, it may be helpful in getting the younger generation more interested in the wine industry.
Other wineries are also developing creative solutions to continue their business. These include virtual tastings, wine features, curbside pick-ups, and direct outreach to customers. If you’d like to support the wine industry (we hope that you will!) and are looking for some entertainment this weekend, check out this list of virtual tastings in Napa Valley. Journalist Kim Westerman has more detailed wine tasting recommendations that you can find here.
As always, stay safe, stay home, and shop local!