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    Is COVID-19 Going to Affect Wine Production?

    The shutdown of transport and trade in cities and towns across the world due to the pandemic has months of perils in store for vintners and vineyards. However, wine sales that ended in May showed a 267% increase in year-over-year purchases. So, what exactly is happening?

    Read on to find out how COVID-19 has affected wine sales, regions, and production around the world. 

    What Is Happening With Production? 

    Over 20% of wineries have halted production during the pandemic, leading to losses of over $40 million, according to figures compiled by Wine America. While many vintners have had to battle governments to be deemed essential businesses, wine production is facing many complications due to COVID-19, as evidenced below. 

    • Loss of wine-ready-grapes: 25% of worldwide grapes ready for wine harvesting will pile up a loss of $323 million.
    • Different wines: The Viña Cobos spokesperson from an Argentinian winery says the scorching heat and drought has added to the creation of BB-sized berries in small bunches with intense complexity and body.  
    • Advanced security measures: The New Zealand government has deemed vineyards and wine merchants to be essential, but safety protocols are advanced and virtual now.

    Which Regions Are Being Hurt The Most? 

    Take a look at a list of wine regions that are severely affected by the pandemic and how they are coping with it. 

    South Africa

    When it came to harvest in 2020, South African vintners were almost complete with the harvest when the lockdown announcement labeled wineries as non-essential. However, within a day, the government amended its processes. The only remaining challenge for wineries at present is changing sales patterns. 

    Chile 

    Chile is the same as South Africa; the government deemed wine essential after a few days of lockdown as well. Moreover, the early harvest has helped vineyards and wineries of the main wine regions stay afloat. 

    Europe

    Italy, France, and Spain have recently asked the EU to set aside EUR 350 million for 10 million hectoliters for distillation. Given the high percentage of bars and restaurants shut down across the continent, forecasts are anticipating a major sales drop. Meanwhile France is estimating a loss of over 200,000 seasonal migrant workers, potentially impacting harvest efforts. 

    Australia

    After the wildfires tainted the millions of acres of grapes with smoke, the vineyards and the wineries in Australia are attempting to recover. Dry conditions in the wine regions of New South Wales, combined with the wildfire smoke, have led to poor production of wine grapes too. Printhie Wines owners have already forecast up to a 70% loss due to the unfolding impact of the pandemic.  

    How Have Wine Sales Responded To The Pandemic? 

    Although off-premise wine sales have risen due to lockdowns, on-premise wine sales have tumbled dramatically. Accordingly, winemakers are being forced to respond to the sharp change in distribution channels and the accompanying challenges.

    However, these efforts pale in comparison to the potential losses. In Europe alone, the International Organisation of Wine and Vine (OIV) is anticipating a 50% drop in sales across the continent. 

    • Off-premise sales through grocery and convenience stores are seeing up to a 10% increase in sales.
    • On-premise wine sales via restaurants are looking at $2.54 billion losses, 80%,  due to the pandemic.
    • Tasting rooms are looking at a loss of approximately $3 billion too. However, virtual wine tasting has hopes of transforming this figure if it gains momentum. 
    • Direct-To-Consumer industries such as wine clubs estimate up to 10% losses due to the pandemic. 

    How Are Wine Clubs Reacting? 

    Stay at home orders have sparked increased wine club membership and many are offering special promotions and events during this period to attract new customers. Use a wine club membership plan like one of the following to start receiving wine deliveries to your door today.

    Wine Insiders 

    On top of free shipping on 6+ bottles, Wine Insiders offers access to its red and white wine selection with safe doorstep delivery and 20% off sitewide during the pandemic. Available at $89. 

    WSJwine

    Using a membership plan with WSJwine starting at $69.99 with $200 off, you can access affordable varieties of cheap wine under any of the five types of membership plans. 

    Laithwaites

    This wine club is still delivering on top of offering 20% off cabernets and $50 off on whites. Their champagne club’s online offerings are also great due to its expansive variety. Plans start from $59.99. 

    Bottom Line 

    With an early harvest, social distancing, and other innovative safety measures, the wine industry is trying to rebound. To help the industry navigate these turbulent times, sign up for a wine club, or treat your loved ones to wine club gifts from the comfort of their homes.