The entire world turned upside down in March as we were hit with the reality of a worldwide pandemic landing on our front doorstep. As California governor Gavin Newsom issued stay-at-home orders to individuals not deemed “essential” workers, he also called on the state’s 4600+ wineries to close their doors to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Not only did tasting rooms close, but events including wine club parties and festivals—Amador Four Fires, for example—were canceled. Additionally, as restaurants shuttered or radically scaled back their offerings to takeout only, cases of wine were not being re-ordered at the wholesale level. Revenue all but evaporated for many wineries. Once the shock wore off, wineries across the Sacramento region and the state quickly adjusted their business models to accommodate never-seen-before circumstances.
Winemakers, winery owners and wine associations strapped on their thinking caps, grabbed a big glass of wine and willed the creative juices to start flowing. Nearly overnight, wineries rearranged their longstanding business models and started offering out-of-the box programming, including heavily discounted shipping, free-local delivery, curbside promotions and a wide variety of virtual events.
It’s true that in the short-term, wine enthusiasts have lost the freedom to sip wines together in the tasting rooms that populate our beautiful region. However, the entrepreneurial spirit that lives in our wineries has afforded us creative solutions and opportunities to connect with new ways to enjoy life. For example, we can now tune in nearly any night of the week to a virtual tasting event on Zoom or Facebook/Instagram with the owners and winemakers of our favorite wineries. We can also purchase wine tasting sets to go, thanks to the relaxation of some regulations put forth by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Circumstances continue to evolve. Local wineries will flex in response. For consumers, the best avenues for updated information appear to be social media channels for each individual winery. Additionally, you can visit these winery association websites for regional COVID-19 updates and links to member wineries:
Amador Vintners Association: https://amadorwine.com/covid-19-updates/
Calaveras Wine Grape Alliance: https://www.calaveraswines.org/curbside-delivery-andship
Clarksburg Wine Growers and Vintners Association: https://cwgva.wildapricot.org/Wine-Specials
El Dorado Winery Association: https://eldoradowines.org/shelter-in-place.php
Lodi Visitor’s Association/Lodi Wine: https://mailchi.mp/lodiwine.com/winetogo
Placer Wine Trail: https://placerwine.com/explore-our-wineries/
Sierra Vintners: https://sierravintners.com/covid-19.php
Yolo County Vineyard & Winery Association: https://www.yolocountywines.com/wineries