Well… we are…
WineIndustryAdvisor.com very recently reported on the release of a report titled Wine Intelligence US COVID-19 Impact Report by Wine Intelligence, who are a group of people who issue reports (mostly about wine industry-related trends). Now, I’m reporting the report of that report to you, because apparently we’re in the Postmodern meta-meta-meta referencing stage of this particular bit of news.
To quote WIN Advisor, we US-based wine lovers are a bunch of COVID-19 lushes:
“The findings paint a picture of a nation finding new occasions for wine drinking – at lunchtime, or catching up with friends online, or replacing the trip to the restaurant with a more indulgent evening meal.”
There’s a bit to unpack amidst all of this reporting, so let’s get cracking…
First off, we need to combine the key takeaway that US wine consumers are looking for any excuse during the COVID-19 lock-down to drink more with this equally important takeaway:
“There was a significant growth in online shopping across all age groups, with the most likely users of online channels being younger, urban, affluent consumers. This same demographic, who in normal times are more likely to drink wine in social settings such as bars and restaurants, also tended to spend more on take-home purchases.”
Millenials are helping to drive the increase, and are taking the lead (though every age group is getting involved to some extent) on ordering more wine online.
Also important is that the spending habits during this tricky and trying time are a mixed message, though one that can also play into the opportunities (more on those in a minute) that our current plight has introduced for US wineries:
“The growing volume of wine purchased was tempered by a small decline in the average price per bottle paid overall, according to the research. However, within this average were significant variations by consumer type. More involved and committed wine drinkers, who mainly spend between $15 and $20 per bottle normally, tended to spend a bit more than usual, while less frequent wine drinkers tended to spend a bit less.”
Domestic wine consumption was also understandably up, since many wine lovers are supporting local wine businesses, and it’s easier in general for wineries to ship directly to consumers, etc. That should be welcome news to the California wine industry in particular, which started off 2020 on a sour note with respect to excess inventory, reduced demand, etc.
So… if you’re a US-based winery, here’s your potential high-level COVID-19 playbook:
- Engage your consumers online (well, I should write continue to engage your consumers online, because you never stopped doing that, right?!??)
- Offer them discounts and exploit all the channels you can for getting wine delivered directly to their doorstep.
- Tailor your offers by age group and demographic as much as is reasonably possible.
- Profit (also as much as is reasonably possible during this time when you are not seeing folks saunter into your tasting rooms in steady, semi-inebriated streams).
Obviously, wine lovers want their brands to exhibit thoughtful, caring, genuine human behavior during this pandemic lock-down, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not open to being courted and parting with their hard-earned dollars to celebrate the fact that they survived another day homeschooling kids while also working (or looking for work) and distancing themselves from loved ones by having a Tuesday-is-the-new-Friday glass of vino.