Impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic have been far reaching across the drinks industry, from producer to supplier to the on- and off-premise.
This comes at the worst possible time for many, which are still dealing with ongoing drought, severe weather conditions and recovering from catastrophic bushfires. For winemakers, both production and business has been hit, with effects compounded by the pandemic.
It was seeing this devastation and hearing about the continued struggles of small wineries around the country that inspired Dean Taylor, Founder and CEO of Wine Depot, to do something.
Taylor has launched an Instagram page called Support Aussie Wineries, to showcase and tell the stories of local wineries and how we can support them. None of the posts are sponsored, a winery just needs to get in touch to be featured.
“Australia’s 6,000 grape growers and 2,500 winemakers have been hit hard this year by bushfires, smoke taint and the lowest yield in seven years. On top of this they are now dealing with coronavirus which almost overnight has shut down their export markets, trade distribution and cellar doors,” Taylor said.
“For many smaller and family owned wineries who aren’t stocked in major bottle shops, this will have a huge impact… We launched the @supportaussiewineries page to build awareness of the winemakers plight.”
“Most Aussies love to support small businesses, so we are making it easier for them to find and connect with those who need support right now.”
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The page already has over 500 followers and has made shoutouts to dozens of winemakers via posts and stories. Taylor said this is growing every day and the reception from both industry and consumer has been great. This interest means good things for the page’s goals.
“We’re hoping more than anything that it will drive dollars back into regional communities which have been hit very badly by bushfires and coronavirus. We’re also hoping to share the stories and faces behind the brands, helping people connect with Australia’s fantastic winemakers,” Taylor said.
Also a goal of the page is to give people a chance to explore and escape through wine, at a time when physically doing this is simply not possible.
“Wine is one of those things that for a lot of people, it’s not just about drinking the wine itself, it’s about the experience of visiting the wine region and the wineries… obviously at the moment it’s impossible for people to travel, and I think this is a chance to bring the wine region to you,” Taylor said.
In this way the page offers an opportunity for retailers to help customers in this exploration, to learn about Australian wines, the stories of the winemakers and feel good about supporting local businesses. Taylor said that going this extra mile in terms of customer connection and supporting other businesses in need could be a great point of difference for retailers through the pandemic, a time when the localisation trend is booming.
“This is a chance for [retailers] to really connect with their customers and audiences and differentiate themselves with the real surge of people chasing more authentic products. I think the better bottle shops these days are building out a more interesting range and branching out… and I think consumers are loving that,” Taylor said.
Follow @supportaussiewineries on Instagram to learn about wineries near you that could use your help.
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