Washinigton Wine & Coronavirus Pt 1

Washinigton Wine & Coronavirus Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Washington’s wine industry has been crushing it for the past few decades, but the coronavirus has forced all of the 1,00-plus wineries to make some quick adjustments to their routine.

Washington Wine Commission president Steve Warner says they have three main sales channels, the first being off-premise sales like grocery stores …

WARNER … “And they’ve actually seen a bit of an uptick, or quite a bit of an uptick in sales because everyone is pantry-loading and stocking up. And, honestly, we’ve seen trends where people are drinking more wine in that sales channel. They’re going to the store and instead of buying two bottles, they’re buying a case and maybe they’re doing virtual happy hours more often.”

Warner says the second channel is on-premise sales like restaurants …

WARNER … “That’s been completely decimated. So, farmers who grow and sell fruit to smaller and midsize wineries that have a lot of on-premise sales or restaurant sales are really hurting and that’s, you know, for a thousand wineries in the state, that’s quite a few wineries that rely on restaurant sales and on-premise sales. So, that’s been severely impacted.”

And the third, Warner says is e-commerce or online sales …

WARNER … “We’ve seen some wineries do quite well. Those that already had a strong e-commerce presence or a strong online presence and were quick to adapt with creative programs to continue to engage consumers directly. And, then there were some that maybe were not heavily weighted in e-commerce so they had to shift over and really try to get that engine up and going.”

Warner says tourism is such a huge part of the wine industry and it will be crucial to get folks back out to the wineries as soon as possible.

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