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The Covid-19 outbreak has heavily impacted the wine industry. With on-premise establishments shutting down, people following social distancing, and some states going into lawfully placed lockdowns, wineries and wine brands have found themselves stuck in the middle. Things are at pause, and there really isn’t much that we can do right now. However, the wine industry continues to push forward and plan ahead.
Beverage Trade Network conducted a survey where wineries and wine brands answered questions related to the current situation:
● Apart from your staff’s safety, what are your plans and priorities ahead?
● What will be your focus for the next 3 months?
● How do you plan to manage staff and operational costs in the next 3 months?
This survey was conducted so we can help the industry by compiling all the data and sharing it with others across the wine world. During this time, everyone is doing what they can to help each other, and this survey is put in place to do exactly that.
Over a short period of time, the survey received a plethora of answers from wineries and brands, who shared what they are doing currently, and what they are going to be doing to sustain themselves during this time.
The safety of a brand/winery’s staff is the first thing that industry leaders are looking at right now. Apart from that, they are also planning for the future, and setting their priorities according to what they know as of now, and what they can do.
According to Beverage Trade Network’s Covid-19 Action Plan survey, 37.8% of wineries and brands are set to go full throttle on digital media. Right now, digital media is the most powerful tool that brands and wineries can use. A lot of wineries don’t have a wide digital presence, and most don’t focus on that, but in this day and age, where social media is the way of life for most people - it’s important for brands to have a strong digital presence.
Usually wineries are caught up with focusing on a retail presence, production, bottling, finding distribution, and other operational works - but right now, all those are at pause, and going digital is what most wineries and brands are set to do. Brands and wineries are using this time to show up in front of their audience, engage with their audience, and build credibility for themselves.
Meanwhile, 8.9% of wineries and brands said that they are bottling more of their wines for the retail rush happening. The on-premise sector is shutting down, however, off-premise sales are shooting up. Due to social distancing and lockdown, consumers are stocking up on wine, which is increasing demand for wines in the retail sector. So, for a lot of brands, wineries, the retail world is becoming their main source of income. As a winery, they have to meet this demand, and for that, wineries are focusing on bottling more wines.
On the other hand, 20% of wineries said that they are planning to shut down. This is mostly for those wineries who have a higher on-premise presence, don’t have a credible off-premise presence, and also for those who don’t have the means to continue production as of now.
The next step wineries are going to be taking is touching their current customers. According to BTN’s Covid-19 survey, 25.2% of wineries and brands are working to keep their current customers with them and build relationships with their customers along with that. What the survey also shows is that 17.8% of wineries and brands are going to be focusing on e-commerce sales, while 8.1% are focusing on DTC channels, and 6.7% are going full throttle on social media.
All of this once again boils down to the digital sector. For those who are looking to touch their current customers, they are most probably going to be doing that digitally. Brands and wineries are bound to reach out to their customers online by offering them deals, discounts, engaging with them, and building a relationship with them to make sure that their customer base stays put during this time.
As we’ve already established, the internet is proving to be a strong tool right now. Brands and wineries are also stepping into e-commerce sales and DTC channels such as Drizly and Tap Rm, where their customers would easily have access to their wines. This is going to help wineries and brands sustain their income as we wait for the situation to die down.
With things changing, cost is going to be a major hurdle for most people in the wine industry. The real question is, how are they going to manage staff and operational costs?
BTN’s Covid-19 survey found that 28.9% percent of people are going to be keeping their staff with no layoffs, 28.9% are going to be having their staff work from home at a lower salary, and unfortunately, 20.7% will be laying off a good amount of their staff. We were pleased to see that a higher percentage of wineries and brands would be building a work from home strategy for their staff, instead of following through with layoffs. During this time, the industry is set on supporting each other, which is what the wine industry proudly boasts.
As you can see from the data shared above, BTN’s Covid-19 survey has been successful at getting valid and operational responses from the wine industry. The main idea behind this survey was for the industry to get together and help each other during this time. The answers of the survey are going to be compiled and sent to all survey takers, so they can see what others are doing - which will help in sustaining their businesses during this time.
If you’re looking to help others during this time with what you are doing as a business, or want insights for your winery and wine brand as well, then take the BTN Covid-19 Action Plan Survey and receive a bundled report of what the industry is doing.