The rapid advance of COVID-19 has everyone changing their way of life, including spending a lot more time indoors.
Depending on how comfortable you are being separated from the maelstrom, this social distancing and isolation is either a great time to do a “Marie Kondo” to all those wine bottles you’ve collected over the years or it’s the modern equivalent of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum.”
But, as of this writing, it hasn’t been a strict quarantine. Annoying, yes, exasperating, certainly, and also very necessary considering what is and isn’t known about this virus.
However, we still have the ability to move around: to shop for food and medicines, buy gas, marijuana and hammers, have food and liquor delivered, and to take the dog for yet another walk.
We also have the ability to stay at home: to read, to talk, to get to know your family better, and (maybe) finally figure out why so many people are intrigued by the K-Pop group Blackpink.
It’s certainly nothing new to say how difficult it is being a winery owner and/or winemaker in Colorado. It never has been easy. It wasn’t back in 1968 when Gerald Ivancie and Warren Winiarski teamed up for Ivancie Cellars, and now it’s been made more difficult (yes, it’s possible) by the pandemic and the many restrictions against public gatherings.
Most local wineries still are selling wine, although I suggest first looking at their websites and Facebook pages (those who have FB pages) to see current policies.
One example is Nancy Janes at Whitewater Hill Vineyards, 220 32 Road, who has moved to an appointment-only schedule along with online sales and free local deliveries.
While the tasting room remains open (call first), she maintains social distancing standards, does thorough and frequent cleaning and limits tasting room visitors to five at a time.
Here are two other Facebook pages in particular that I recommend, although there are others out there worthy of seeking out.
First, Fisher’s Discount Liquor Barn, 2438 Patterson Road, has a complete (as of March 26) list of exemptions to the business closures as provided by the Colorado State Patrol. There also is an accounting of the store’s measures to keep patrons and employees as safe as possible while shopping, along with alternatives to shopping in person.
Second, the Facebook page of Carlson Vineyards in Palisade, where owners Garrett and Cailin Portra offer a heartfelt glimpse into their thoughts both as a family and as small business owners concerned not only about their health and livelihood but that of their employees. They also have a tasting room at 545 Main St. in Grand Junction.
As a casual user of social media, I suggest businesses update websites and Facebook pages, since it’s possibly the best way to stay in touch with present and potential clients.
A recent article in Wine Business News (winebusiness.com) revealed that in recent weeks wine-club memberships and online sales have jumped because wineries are talking about that on their websites.
Publicist Julie Ann Kodmur of St. Helena, California, offered some tips on marketing your wine during this trying time on her website, wineriesversusthevirus.com.
Coronavirus “has ripped away conventional marketing, whether in the wine business or any business,” she notes. “Yet, while we’re social distancing, we crave contact. As marketers, now is the time to dig deep. Creativity. Imagination. Empathy. Discretion — walking the line between exploiting and community building.”
The goal, she reminds us, “is selling more wine … not having a prospective customer look up from your eblast with a cringe and a groan.”