A COVID 19 and wine combination needn’t be a threat to communities, colleagues or wine lovers.

As I write that, I do realise that I am late this month with this blog post. This is for two main reasons. The first one is obvious in that the Coronavirus has 100% disrupted business as we know it. The second reason is that I just didn’t know how to approach the topic.

There is so much information arising from official sources that you don’t need to hear about self-disciplining from me. Nor are you in the mood to be hearing about my last wine discovery trip to mainland Europe. And you can only imagine what’s going on in the vineyards of Italy.

So, I guess this post is going to be a sort of a mixed bag, related to COVID 19 and wine. Apologies in advance if I wander a little but bear with me. I will keep it short.

A COVID 19 and wine combination needn’t be a threat to communities, colleagues or wine lovers #staysafestayhome
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Wine is a Lifestyle.

Being in this industry for many years I am used to the sense of community that wine gives rise to. I meet friends and colleagues around dinner tables, tasting rooms, restaurants and of course during my day-to-day job.

For me wine is much more than what is actually in the glass – it’s a lifestyle that brings like-minded people together to share a passion. This lifestyle has now been threatened.

I am heartbroken to hear of people’s livelihoods, particularly in Italy and Spain, being under threat due to the COVID 19 uncertainty. Not only across the (wine) world but here in Wexford and Ireland, the entire fabric of our daily lives has been shaken to the core.

How will Wineries Cope With COVID 19?

In Bordeaux, where the annual en primeur tasting week has been cancelled, vineyards faced the issue of complying with government orders while also dealing with an early bud break in some vineyards – thanks to the mild winter.

In Italy, with its nationwide lockdown, winemakers and trade bodies spoke of their determination to carry on but also do the right thing and stop contact with visitors.

I know that work has not stopped, across the wine making world but you can be sure that each company is taking all the safety measures to protect the health of employees and customers. Just as all businesses local and National must do here, in the weeks and months ahead.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

What About Green Acres and COVID 19?

It was extremely difficult to break the news to our team that we had to close our doors recently. But it was decided, in the interest and safety of our team and customers to do so. Then this week, in an effort to stand together with the local community, we have decided to open our doors for 1 hour each day (Mon – Sat) at noon, to allow people stock-up on whatever they need.

We will also assess deliveries on a case by case basis. Safety and mitigation of this virus are still top priorities for us. Whatever happens here on the Emerald Isle, I firmly believe that we will come back stronger than ever, in due course.

Having an Online Presence.

The one silver lining for most businesses nowadays, is that technology has enabled another route to purchase for people. Being able to update people on social media channels, and offer most products online, many SMEs are able to continue trading and offering support in a small way.

We, in Green Acres have found an increase in people using our mobile app to browse our website. Obviously, the restaurant and Gallery are closed but goods can still be purchased online.

Support for your local business is critical. Almost every small business is hurting – as are the staff that have had to go home.

Here’s a pitch which is not local. The people of Italy are on the front lines right now, with their entire nation under lockdown and all restaurants and wineries closed to visitors.

They are going to be in economic distress for some time. Support them by including at least one bottle of Italian wine when you purchase your next mixed case from us. We’ll give you 10% off any mixed case of 12 bottles.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Hospitality and Retail Industries.

On a broader scale, it is no secret that the hospitality industry is going to be drastically impacted by this Coronavirus outbreak. The closure of bars, restaurants, hotels etc. will result in them never being able to make up the full revenue loss even with some delivery options being developed currently.

David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland recently that the situation for the retail sector was now “dire” with 140,000 jobs lost in recent days and a further 200,000 jobs likely to be lost in the near future.

His Board called on government to consider the implementation of a three-pillar plan, to help clarify the future trading situation for retailers:

Pillar 1: Immediate Common-Sense Measures (e.g. list essential categories).

Pillar 2: Suspension of Debt Measures (e.g. all costs such as commercial rents, rates and all other business costs must be paused).

Pillar 3: Steps to Recovery (e.g. the establishment of a Govt. economic recovery team).

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Closing Thoughts.

If you have been putting aside a few good bottles of wine for ‘a rainy day’, well, open some of them now because it’s pouring out there. If any of them are Italian or Spanish, great – if not, get online and order some – you’ll be helping a lot of people.

A combination of COVID 19 and wine, needn’t be a threat to communities, colleagues and wine lovers. Here’s the thing about a global pandemic – we’re all in it together even if we’re keeping our distance.

Here’s the thing about a global pandemic – we’re all in it together even if we’re keeping our distance. #staysafestayhome #stopthespread #flattenthecurve
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Let’s raise a glass tonight to the simple pleasures we’re still lucky enough to enjoy, even in this current difficult environment.

Stay Safe, Stop the Spread and thank you, from all the Green Acres team, for your continued support of our business.

Talk Soon – James.

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