The Year 2020 in Wine

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The Year 2020 in Wine

While the year 2020 has been one of the most difficult years most of us have ever experienced, the positive aspect of this year most certainly has to be in the creativity and resilience of restaurants, merchants, and wineries to come up with ways to market their products electronically, and make sales in as relatively a contactless way as possible.

At City Vino, we adapted to government restrictions by providing curbside pickup, shipping, and by holding some virtual tastings online, with purchased bundles of wine. In Virginia wine country, wineries adapted their websites to online commerce if they didn’t have it, curbside pickup, shipping and holding virtual events. Wine writers, wine stores, and winemakers turned to Zoom, Facebook live, and Instagram live, in order to increase sales by connecting with customers old and new.  

Nancy Bauer, of “Virginia Wine in My Pocket,” a guide and app dedicated to Virginia wine, created a Facebook page called “Support Virginia Wineries During COVID.” The page provides a place for lovers of Virginia wineries to share their favorite wines or wineries, discuss or promote virtual tastings, show the bottle they just enjoyed, and find out about winery openings and safety protocols. 

In Italy, the 16th century wine windows that were established during the plague were reopened. The windows allow wine merchants to sell wine through small windows minimizing contact between seller and buyer. The exact number of these windows isn’t known, as many had been covered up, but there are at least 150 in Florence, and another 100 around Tuscany.

A surplus of wine—yes, surplus—in France was turned into hand-sanitizer. A winery in North Carolina donated 74,000 bottles of Muscadine wine to be made into needed hand-sanitizer.

Stone House Urban Winery, in Hagerstown, Maryland, came up with their own creative way to have contactless curbside pickup. The winery uses their dog Soda to deliver wine to customers. 

Unfortunately, this year again yielded massive wild fires on the west coast of the United States that destroyed many vineyards and wineries, in addition to causing smoke taint to grapes not yet harvested. Fires also ravaged vineyards earlier in the year in Australia. 

In an effort to produce wine-packing products that have less of an effect on the environment, a British company invented a paper wine bottle made from 94 percent recycled materials. With wine now being sent in small tasting vials for online tasting and education, other new creative ways to package these samples truly show engineering skills and creativity.

The year 2020 saw yet more celebrities release wines. The new releases include Post Malone, Kylie Minogue, Cameron Diaz, Snoop Dog, and Mary J Blige.  We shall let you decide if they are worthy of purchase or if they are all hype, but these articles from Harpers Bazaar, Los Angeles Magazine, and Wine Enthusiast magazine may help you with your decision.

Controversy again surrounded the Court of Master Sommeliers this year. This year, racism and sexual misconductallegations surfaced, which lead to the resignation and termination of a number of key players in the organization implicated or complicit in the scandal. The organization elected a new board, and time will tell if the organization will be able to recover.

U.S. wine tariffs continued in 2020, which caused Europe to shift wine exports to China. Whether the tariffs will remain with the upcoming change of administration is yet to be determined. 

The year 2020 in wine, as with everything, has been challenging, but what it has shown is that people and businesses are resilient. Here’s to a better 2021!!


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