Virtual Cheers: Vineyards, Brands Host Online Events to Engage Customers

Woman drinking red wine at the restaurant and using special app in her smartphoneLast summer, it was hard to get a reservation at Wolffer’s Vineyard in Long Island, NY. As this summer approaches, the tasting room remains empty because of COVID-19, but the party is still going on.

Wolffer’s winemaker Roman Roth, whom The Wine Industry Advisor named as one of wine’s most inspiring people, now hosts virtual wine tastings for the Hamptons’ elite and beyond. It’s a trend that’s picking up across the wine industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s take a look. (more…)

Quarantined Americans Drinking More Than Ever

Most of America has been under a “stay at home order” for the last six weeks because of COVID-19, the Novel Coronavirus. While Americans are confined to their homes, they’re coping by cracking open a few more bottles of wine or pouring more than just a few extra cocktails.

Americans already enjoyed drinking at home, but now that they’re forced to stay in, they are buying more alcoholic beverages online than ever before. In fact, online alcoholic beverage sales increased 387% for the week ending April 11, according to CNN. The week prior, sales were up a whopping 441%.

Online sales are not booming solely because restaurants and bars are closed. Total alcohol sales grew 26.2% compared to the same week last year, according to Nielsen. (more…)

Sipping and Shopping: Stores are Offering Drinks to Customers to Increase Sales

While browsing the latest spring styles in a store, the hottest new accessory is a glass of champagne.

Stores such as Nordstrom, Crate and Barrel, Target, and Whole Foods are partnering up with wine and spirits brands to offer customers a glass of wine or even a cocktail in the hopes of increasing a customer’s total spending. For customers, the shopping experience can feel more luxurious or fun with a drink.

“From a marketing perspective, it’s genius,” Kate Carey, a professor of behavioral and social sciences at Brown University told The Washington Post. “Draw people in [with] the novel pairing of drinking alcohol while shopping, and then lower their inhibitions as you are presenting them with things to buy.” (more…)

Brands Brace for Sales, Revenue Dips Among Coronavirus Spread

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting every industry, and tanking the global economy as a whole. Even in the wine and spirits world, it’s causing profit loss.

Distilleries have canceled tours, whiskey trading is experiencing losses of more than 200 million, bars in Asia are quiet, and auction houses are halting selling their top whiskeys.

According to the World Health Organization, there are 110,029 Coronavirus cases in 105 countries, with 3,817 deaths, as of March 9. Internationally, government officials are encouraging citizens to self-quarantine. (more…)

How Technology is Helping Vineyards Crop Up in New Areas

States like Texas are slowly becoming award-winning locations for winemaking. While one might associate the Lone Star State with tumbleweeds and dry weather, winemakers are using data to learn lessons that help make hardier vintages there.

Technology helps aspiring winemakers to plant their vines in new places across the United States.

States such as Michigan have seen their wine industry grow 34% in the past five years, with an economic impact on the state of over $4.9 billion.

There’s a lot of work to be done in these regions when unexpected weather changes such as frost can come at any minute. Technology can help predict the changes, which lowers labor costs, and potentially saves the wines from disaster. (more…)

For the Best New Wines, Customers are Headed to the City

Woman holding a glass of wine and enjoying the city view.When you think of a winery, you might envision acres of rolling green hills filled with rows upon rows of grape vines.

But as more millennials choose to live in cities long-term, wineries are now opening in old warehouses and small blacktop spaces. Known as urban wineries, they are attracting city dwellers and even tourists to come drink their wine. Urban wineries use grapes from any number of different off-site vineyards.

Around 2000 the first Urban wineries started to open, despite rising rent costs, because of customer demand for ambiance and good wine — without having to travel to wine country. The main difference between more rural vineyards in traditional wine-country regions and the urban wineries, is that the grapes are grown and the wine is made off-site. (more…)

Customers are Looking for a Good Story with their Wine

Consumers no longer just want their wine to taste good, they want it to tell a story.

Sales of generic wine, priced at less than $9 a bottle, have declined. These affordable options use to appeal mostly to baby boomers, who are now aging out of buying alcohol for health reasons.

“Over the past 50 years, we’ve watched generic wines, which have no story or attachment to a place, fall out of favor with consumers,” the 2020 Silicon Valley Bank report on the state of the wine industry stated. (more…)

Are Vending Machines the Bartenders of the Future?

Your vacation has started and you’re ready for a glass of bubbly to celebrate. The days of waiting for a bartender to serve you a drink are over. Now, customers can simply walk over to a vending machine.

This vending machine doesn’t serve candy or bags of chips, but personal-sized bottles of champagne. Others disperse bottled beer or canned cocktails.

Customers are willing to pay up for the benefit of shorter lines and something interesting to Instagram. Some are willing to spend as much as $25 for a 200 mL champagne bottle that would be only $11 in a liquor store.

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Brands Try New Strategies to Beat the Winter Sale Chill

With the holidays behind consumers and colder temperatures holding steady, alcohol sales typically decrease during the first part of the year.

The holiday months typically account for 30% of all sales of wine and spirits brands, which totals about $250 billion a year. Alcohol purchases peak in November, accounting for 37% of all purchases, according to Bev Spot. Then sales dip at the end of January into February. Come summer, sales increase again.

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Before Collecting Grapes, Winemakers Are Collecting Data

If you go to Napa Valley’s Vineyard 29 and walk around the crops, the grapes almost look like they’re in bandages. But the bandage is actually a water-measuring device that sends the results to a computer. The data helps take the guesswork out of assessing whether the grapes are healthy. It makes the wine better and helps produce stronger vintages.

Winemakers are collecting as much data as they can to help create better production. The processes include drones flying in the sky to measure reflectance rates and software to measure the control tanks connected to those water-measuring bandages. (more…)