Coronavirus epidemic and wine sales

The coronavirus outbreak has caused an emergency situation across the world. For this reason, people are stockpiling; and as wine is not staple food, many may forget to buy it – but it doesn’t have to be like that. Check below some tips on how to sell wine during coronavirus epidemic.

Coronavirus and agriculture production

After the coronavirus escalation at the end of December in Wuhan, China, the virus SARS-CoV-2 which causes Covid-19 has spread all around the world. About 2,5 months later, it seems that China has managed to tame the virus, while in Europe and the USA the virus escalated to a serious extent and causing an emergency situation. Depending on the epidemic dimensions, countries are “fighting” the coronavirus in different ways: from canceling events, closing bars, restaurants, shops, closing public places and transport, making quarantine compulsory (self-isolations), and declaring a state of emergency. Obviously, all those precaution measures are there to limit the number of infected people at the same time, and tame the virus, while not causing the country’s health system to collapse. Each of us is obliged to prevent the spread of the infection. No matter how good or bad the health system is, if on an individual level we will not follow the recommendations and prohibitions, it will be impossible to prevent the worst-case scenario.

In every country that the virus has spread, we could see that people panicked and “emptied” the stores in order to stock up with food and other goods for a bit longer period. As people need to eat no matter the situation, agricultural sectors are probably one of a few sectors that will not suffer (at least in the long term) from the Covid-19 epidemic. While stores are already seeing record earnings, food producers of the high-value crops might be impacted by the coronavirus. According to California West Coast agriculture economist, “producers of high-end wines and non-staple foods such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, strawberries, raspberries and even some leafy greens that are considered exotic” could suffer. But it doesn’t have to be like that!

Tips to sell wine during coronavirus epidemic

We were already able to see some project cancelation due to the epidemic, and as we don’t want you to suffer too much of economic losses. We have put together a list of tips to help you sell wine also during the Covid-19 epidemic. Wine is not staple food, however, this doesn’t mean that nobody will buy wine during the coronavirus epidemic. After all, wine is there to make people happy, joyful, help them forget about all the drama and the fact that they need to stay at home in self-isolation. On the other hand, wine also has some health benefits.

Promote wine on your social media channels

Now that people are at home, either in self-isolation, either due to the restricted social gatherings, they will for sure spend a bit more time on the social media. Therefore this is an opportunity for you to promote wines on your winery social media channels. Be creative with your online marketing, as it can be a very effective strategy to sell wines during the coronavirus epidemic and increase awareness of your winery. For example, you can educate people about your wine through live streams, or webinars. You could for example offer a free course on basic principles of wine tasting. Some marketers say that due to the coronavirus, fewer people will promote on social media, especially companies that sell services (fitness, hairdressers, beautician,…) and goods that are not attractive during the epidemic or can not be sold (such as physical stores with clothes, shoes,..) as well as companies that temporarily closed their doors.

Promote your wines on social media channels – live streams, a great way to educate people about your wines.

Focus on the local market

As some wineries reportedly are already having problems with wine distribution, in the future more disruption in the logistics can arrive. Even though we hope they won’t – but it’s better to be prepared. Now is your opportunity to really focus on the domestic and local markets. Keep selling wine online and if companies that were usually delivering your wines are overbooked or stopped working due to the restrictions, check if there is a possibility within your winery to set up delivery service. In order to protect your costumers and employees, promote online purchases so that you can deliver wines on the doorstep and have as little physical contact with customers as possible to avoid infection spreading. Also provide your employees with basic protection equipment, such as gloves, masks, disinfectants, etc. Another option is to enable online purchases and organize Pick Up Drive-Thru services to protect your customers and employees from the Covid-19 infection. As mentioned before, minimizing contacts is crucial to tame the virus.

Do wine tasting

Yes, in several countries wineries were forced to close down tasting rooms, but this not necessarily mean you can’t do it. You know how everyone is now promoting online meetings in the business world – now if they can do it, you can do it as well. Re-organize wine tasting experience and offer online wine tasting. How? Collect interest through online applications (you can simply use google forms for that), or some other applications that offer online purchases as well, or simply use your online store. Then send samples to everyone that applied and on a given day&hour, do an online wine tasting. Certainly, wine tasting from the couch could be an interesting experience for you and your customers.

Make online wine tasting so that anyone interested in wine tasting, in the epidemic time, can do from the couch.

Help stores with wine promotion

If there are stores that have a full stock of your wines, help them promote wines online. Let your customers know where is the closest place they can buy your wines. You might have loyal customers who always take time and drive to the winery to purchase wine directly from you, but are now afraid to travel due to the coronavirus epidemic. Or they were always ordering wines from their favorite store online, but now either they are out of stock, overbooked with orders, or they simply stopped delivering. You never know what can go wrong, but you always want your customers to find your wines.

Make a “corona self-isolation wine package”

When selling wines, you could offer a special “get over self-isolation wine package” in which you pack a selection of your wines and add a notebook with your winery logo for example (you still might have some in the back of the warehouse from December gift season). Many people who are in self-isolation will now have time to finally stop and do what they always wanted to do, but didn’t have time. For example, rebrief, think back on their achievements, and make plans for the future… they will need a notebook to write all that down, and your wine to be creative, of course. :).

People might finally do things that they always wanted to do but there was never the time, things like painting, writing, sewing, etc. – those are all activities that a glass of wine sits well with it. Obviously, people in self-isolation will now have more time to cook lunches and dinners, and we all know that there is no perfect meal without a fine glass of wine. So you could simply put together a “book” of recipes that pair well with your wines. Don’t forget, in the recipes, include foods that can be stored for a longer period of time, such as pasta, rice, canned food as those are the foods most people bought and will continue to buy in the time of coronavirus epidemic.

Marketing tip on how to sell wine during the epidemic: Make a “get over self-isolation” wine package

*Be charitable

Yes, the charity won’t help you sell more wine, but it will show your winery standpoint and present winery in a good and positive light. As you could notice, several companies are opening access to their services – online courses are now available for free for the time of coronavirus epidemic, while restaurants are cooking meals for the most vulnerable people, such as homeless people and elderly people that can’t cook for themselves anymore, and give it away for free. In this hard time, we must help each other. So what you as a winery could do: make free online courses on wine tasting, educate smaller growers or growers that are just starting with winegrowing about vineyard management, and share some good oenological practices. If a part of your winery is also a restaurant, maybe you could cook meals for people in need, or you could help elderly people in the local community to do grocery shopping for them. Think about what you could do for the local community without compromising your existence – it is worth being a good example.


Above are some tips that will help you sell wine also during the coronavirus epidemic, no matter you are targeting customers that are in self-isolation or only cut off from social life. Please by any means do not promote and sell wines to people who got Covid-19, as alcohol can worsen the symptoms! Do make people happy and joyful with your wines, after all, wine is the drink of pleasure. And above all – STAY HEALTHY!

Wine & Coronavirus: Assessing the Risks, by Mike Veseth on The Wine Economist (online)
Interesting reading:
Selling Wine in a Pandemic, by  Rob McMillan on SVB on Wine (online)

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