We’ve been hearing the message about supporting our local wineries by buying BC wines at government stores, private stores, and grocery stores. Add to that, the encouragement to join wine clubs, as many wineries are now offering curbside delivery or free shipping (how very nice to have a case of wine delivered to your door). And more recently, changes to the liquor regulations, which allow you to now order a bottle of wine with your restaurant pick-up/delivery meals (and many are offering big discounts).
All of this is very important, especially for those small and medium-sized wineries who are seeing a big drop in revenues as their normal sales channels disappear. This means things get backed up in the winery and many of them cannot afford to sit on large inventories, both financially and in terms of physical space. If tanks and barrels cannot be emptied and bottled there won’t be room for this year’s harvest. I’ve heard from one winemaker who told me that some wineries are looking at the possibility of not picking this year because they won’t be able to process the grapes.
Let that sink in for a minute. A drop in sales, inventory piling up, and greatly restricted cash flow could mean the end for some of the small producers who rely heavily on tasting room sales.
So where am I going with all this? I know many who read this article are being financially challenged themselves and have had to cut back on their BC wine purchases or choose cheaper options. Others are indeed focusing on buying local products and that is greatly appreciated. Keep it up! The main audience I am speaking to are those with financial resources and space to store wine. If you have the room, please consider upping your purchases and adding to your inventory at this critical time. I have written many times about the age-ability of BC wines, both reds, and whites. You won’t be disappointed. Recently, I have been opening bottles of reds and whites from 2009 and I am very glad that I have hung on to them.
I am sad to say that 2020 could be a turning point for the BC wine industry. Why does that matter, you might say. That is part of owning a business. You agree to the risks. Businesses close all the time, for a variety of reasons.
Why does it matter? There are many reasons:
- The BC wine industry contributes 2.8 billion dollars to our economy.
- One million people visit BC wineries every year.
- It employs over 12 000 (2017) people in nine regions throughout the province, which represents a 20% increase over four years prior.
- BC makes wines that are world-class and has proven that repeatedly
- We now have nine wine regions in the province and due to their diversity, we can make virtually every type of wine – crisp, fresh, food-friendly white wines, full-bodied whites, patio sippers, all types of rosé wines, all types of red wines, sparkling wines, dessert wines, and fortified wines. We do them all and we do them well.
British Columbians are truly very fortunate to have such an amazing selection of stellar wines right here in our own backyard. This is a treasure worth saving. So, go out and do your part. Show them some love. Experiment. Try some varieties you’ve never tried before. Try some wineries that are new to you. Buy a few extras to store for a while. And when the current restrictions are eased, look for BC wineries pouring at farmers’ markets, in grocery stores, and go tour our wine regions and sample what they have to offer. You will be impressed.
With our ongoing #ShiptoSip campaign closing in on 50+ wineries shipping right to your door, many with special incentives please check out this post which is updated every Sunday.