E-Commerce/ Delivery Platforms See Sales Boost; Wineries & Distilleries Get Creative

Dear Client: 

As expected, more states have shut down bars and restaurants to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We’re nearing the halfway point now, with more than 20 states giving the order (by press time).  

On-premise sales by volumes for wine and spirits collectively accounted for about 16.3% of the market consistently in 2019, with off-premise sales by volume at nearly 84% for the year, according to SipSource. “There is now more potential for wine and spirits retailers to gain even more sales volume as consumer behavior shifts,” according to the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.  

For instance, it’s no surprise that “sales are continuing to accelerate as consumers rely more and more on home delivery,” says head of consumer insights at Drizly, Liz Paquette. 

Over the last week, Drizly is experiencing twice the growth rate from earlier in the year. And just looking at the latest four days, it’s growing 3.5x the growth rate from earlier in the year.

“Customers are stocking up, spending on average 30% more than normal,” she tells sister publication Beer Business Daily.  

The above trends are “even more pronounced” for wine and spirits versus beer on the platform. Growth in all categories has accelerated, but wine and spirits is now growing twice as fast as beer, according to Liz. 

Looking ahead, Drizly only expects trends to accelerate “as more people stay home and bars/restaurants curtail activities.” 

“Most every store on the network remains open and our retail partners [are] working day and night to satisfy the massive influx of orders.”

Additionally, “Wholesalers are helping retailer partners get delivery privileges so that they are less impacted by the social distancing and strict quarantining of customers,” according to WSWA. 

BAY AREA ISSUES SHELTER IN PLACE. Some areas are levying stricter curbs than others. Yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that “six Bay Area counties have announced a ‘shelter in place’ order for all residents.” The stay at home directive, which “falls just short of a full lockdown,” will involve San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties, a combined population of more than 6.7 million people, per report. The order is expected to remain in place until at least April 7.

What does that mean for wineries in the area? 

According to Wine Institute, winery businesses meet the definition of “essential businesses” as defined in the county orders section. Essential businesses are allowed to engage in full operations. For wineries, that includes vineyard management, wine production operations, bottling, warehousing, sales, delivery and shipping, per WI.

DISTILLERS MAKING HAND SANITIZER. As many consumers panic and hoard products creating a shortage, distillers have found a need to fill by making hand sanitizer. 

Pennsylvania-based Eight Oaks Farm Distillery, Green Mountain Distillers in Vermont, Durham Distillery in North Carolina, Hotel Tango Distillery in Indiana are among those distillers producing hand sanitizer. 

“Since we already have facilities and equipment geared toward producing high-proof alcohol, which is a common cleaning and anti-bacterial agent, it feels like we have a duty to help wherever we can,” says Hotel Tango Distillery ceo and founder Travis Barnes. “This is a time for all of us to come together, and combine our focused efforts to get COVID-19 under control.” 

WINERIES PROVIDING VIRTUAL TASTINGS. Napa Valley-based Clos Du Val winery has launched a live, virtual tasting program, per a release. The virtual tasting program includes a variety of wine shipped along with a guided wine tasting led by a Clos Du Val team member.   

“We want to continue to share our story and be able to personally connect with our customers over a glass of delicious wine,” says director of DTC and marketing Shannon Murrachioli. “In today’s day and age, who says that has to happen at the winery? We’re thankful we have tools today that allow us to do that virtually.” 


Opici Family Distributing has acquired Organic Vintages, an organic-focused wine wholesaler, servicing New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, per a release. Financial details were not disclosed. 

Organic Vintages was founded in 1988 by Steve Frenkel, who put together a portfolio that specializes in natural, biodynamic, vegan, sugar-free, fair trade selections. The portfolio includes Frey Vineyards, Natural Merchants, Badger Mountain Vineyard, Beaver Creek Vineyards, among others. 

“As our industry evolves, we need to constantly look to stay ahead of the trends,” says president Dina Opici. “We feel that the addition of the Organic Vintages portfolio will allow us to bring the best-positioned organic portfolio to our customers, and we are excited to start the year with such a great addition.”


It goes without saying that none of us has seen anything quite like this in our industry nationwide before. The closest thing that even comes close was 9/11, and even that was different. 

In the spirit of keeping the free flow of information about how COVID-19 is affecting our industry, I am suspending the copyright of all three of our publications, Beer Business Daily, Craft Business Daily, and Wine & Spirits Daily, until March 31, and lifting the paywall on our three websites.  Please feel free to forward our publications to whomever you think would benefit from the information.  

And thanks to those who have offered information about what is going on in their markets — in all three tiers. That information is crucial to divine best practices, and honestly just to give us a sense of community — that we’re not alone.  

As always, thank you for your business, and I look forward to having a libation with each of you when this is over.  


Until tomorrow,

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson    

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