Forbes reports on how, "over the last decade, the wine world has slowly been shifting to embrace technology, particularly e-commerce. But with restaurants and tasting rooms closed and drinkers stuck at home, 2020 pushed wineries and retailers to get digital—even if they did not want to … At the start of the pandemic, home drinkers started buying wine in a frenzy. Nielsen data researchers noted off-premise wine sales in the U.S. are up 27.6% across the board in the week ending on March 14 relative to the same week a year ago."
The story goes on:
"Outside retail, wineries are being pushed online—even brands that stayed adamantly analogue over the last decade have been forced to set up online shops with tasting rooms revenue gone. Wineries of all sizes are creating online pseudo-visiting experiences, wooing drinkers with the promise of virtual tastings and doorstep delivery … The rise of e-commerce also poses the question—how do wineries replace the experience of sitting down for a glass in a vineyard and hearing the story behind the wines from the grower himself? While pandemic has seen the advent of virtual happy hours, few, if none at all, have been able to replicate the immersive experience of visiting a vineyard and connecting a consumer and a wine on an intimate level."
- KC's View:
I actually think that while some level of intimacy has been lost because wine drinkers can experience terroir firsthand, the levels of accessibility and innovation that have been achieved have more than compensated. These businesses were forced to innovate so quickly that they didn't think of it as innovation - they just thought about it as survival.
The challenge will be to find new ways to connect to consumers going forward, when pandemic pressures lessen. That'll be the real test.