San Francisco, CA.
Your membership has enabled us to accomplish so much these past couple of years and without you we wouldn’t have our organization. We want to continue growing so if you know of family/friends that may want to join please let us know so hopefully we can get this inducted this coming January. Let’s keep the excitement growing in our society!! The more the merrier I always say!
All new candidates will be initiated during our annual St. Vincent dinner in January 2021.
Stay Home~ Save Lives
- STAY home as much as you can
- KEEP a safe distance
- WASH hands often
- DON’T touch your eyes, nose or mouth
- COVER your cough
- SICK? Call ahead
We hope that you are all safe and we look forward to seeing you all again real soon!
West Coast wineries Face Uncertain Future
As winery tasting rooms across the U.S. face a third week of closure to the public to reduce the spread of COVID-19, vintners are adjusting to what may be a new normal for another long month. Hosting visitors is at the core of a winery’s identity, and often a substantial source of revenue—more than a third of sales for many small wineries.
California’s shelter in place order is set to last until at least May 3 in many counties, including Sonoma, while Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has extended the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order until May 4. Small wineries that rely on tourism for sales will be closed for the start of the tourist season.
Data from a survey by Wine America on the effects mandated closures have had on employment, production, tourism and sales exposed frightening results. More than 1,000 wineries in 49 states responded to the survey (approximately 10 percent of U.S. wineries). They reported nearly 5,000 layoffs and $40 million in total financial loss in March. The average winery reported a 63 percent decrease in sales. Extrapolated out to cover the entire industry, that’s a potential $400 million loss in one month. Still, 80 percent of the surveyed wineries have continued winemaking operations.
“In 40 years in this business, we’ve been hit with wildfires, earthquakes, floods, economic downturns and bugs that threatened to wipe out the vineyards. This feels like getting hit by all those things at the same time,” Napa Valley’s Doug Shafer of Shafer Vineyards told Wine Spectator.
Efforts to stimulate wine buying, including virtual tastings and discounted shipping, have led to a surge in online sales and have softened the blow, but vintners like Shafer are unsure how long that can continue. “It seems that popping corks is playing a big role in sheltering-in-place,” he said. “I don’t know what things will look like in two or three more weeks.”
Wine lovers will be happy to know that even if they can’t visit, production hasn’t slowed. “The life of a farmer doesn’t slow down in times like this,” said Lisa Mattson, director of marketing and communications for Jordan Winery in Sonoma. “The grapevines don’t stop growing, and the cows still need to be fed.”
Shafer echoed that. “If you only spent time in the vineyard, you’d never know anything unusual was happening,” he said, noting that they just finished pruning and budbreak has begun. In the cellar, most vintners reported working with limited crews but needing to keep up with topping barrels, blending, and or emptying tanks and barrels for bottling and to prepare for the next harvest.
Wineries are following CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of their staff. Washington’s Quilceda Creek has enacted safety protocols to try to limit their staff to five people total working in their office, in the cellar and shipping wines. Scott Lloyd, general manager, has created a rotating schedule so one group of employees will work at home for a week while the other works at the winery. “We’re not planning any layoffs,” he told Wine Spectator.
Despite the plunge in in-person sales opportunities, many wineries reported active online buyers taking advantage of discounted wine and shipping costs. “Retail and off-premise are enjoying a double-digit surge as people stock their cellars,” said Christopher O’Gorman, director of communications for Sonoma’s Rodney Strong. He noted that only about 5 percent of the winery’s business is direct-to-consumer and that they are not aggressively seeking online and telephone sales, preferring to leave room for the smaller, family-owned businesses that need those customers to survive.
Winemaker Cody Wright of Purple Hands in Oregon, is trying to keep his online sales strong with special wine offers such as verticals and wine club releases. “It’s been working well enough to bring in a general amount of revenue to keep everyone employed,” he said of his staff. “Every penny always counts for us.”
Got Wine Ambassador?
We sure do! Our own Chancelier John Barakett is a Wine Ambassador for Boisset Collection. Be a tasting host or join the wine club. Boisset California wineries include JCB, Raymond, Buena Vista, DeLoach and Lyeth.
We believe in creating amazing in-home wine tastings where the wineries come to life and the quality exceeds your expectations. Just like in our tasting rooms, you and your guests can sample the wines first – then if you love them, you can order by the bottle or by the case and save even more. We also reward you, the host, with a 50% discount on your favorite wine selections at the tasting just for opening your home to us. We are sure that you and your guests will have the experience of a lifetime as we transport the elegance of the wine country directly to your home.
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