Bring Your Own Mask: Napa Valley Wineries Get Ready For Reopening

Posted: May 27, 2020



On the heels of Napa Valley restaurants getting green-lighted for indoor dining last week, some of the region’s wineries are poised to reopen during what is typically its peak season.

The state’s wine industry has been hit hard by Covid-19, which shut down visits to wineries and restaurants.

May and June are the start of Napa Valley’s peak season, when the region typically attracts an average of 3.8 million visitors. In 2018, they spent more than $2.23 billion, according to Visit Napa Valley.

Napa Valley restaurants received approval to begin offering indoor dining last week. Now, some of the region’s wineries are poised to reopen, in hopes that stir-crazy local tourists will emerge from isolation looking for a wine country adventure.

The state’s wine industry has been hit hard by Covid-19, which not only shut down wineries to visitors (though, as essential businesses, they are still allowed to produce wine), but also restaurants and hotels as the region approached its most popular time of year among tourists.

According to Visit Napa Valley, May and June are the start of Napa Valley’s peak season, when the region attracts an average of 3.8 million visitors. In 2018, they spent more than $2.23 billion.

“It’s been very difficult,” said Stephanie Honig, director of sales and communications at Honig Vineyard & Winery. “We try and be optimistic and stay positive for our children and employees, but it’s unsettling to have so much uncertainty.”

That uncertainty extends beyond the shelter-in-place restrictions imposed in mid-March. Honig said while the winery has benefited from an uptick in sales at grocery stores, its overall sales were cut in half last month, due largely to the crippling of the restaurant industry.

The Wine Institute projects the U.S. wine industry will lose nearly $6 billion as a result of the pandemic. Rob McMillan of Silicon Valley Bank said one bright spot for the industry overall is the spike in retail sales of wine, which he said are up nearly 30%. However, he said larger wineries with scale benefit most from those sales, while smaller wineries have struggled more.

“The typical smaller winery lost 20% of their sales to restaurants, and 28% of sales from the tasting room; close to 50% on average,” said McMillan. “Some of that has been made up by some of the other sales tactics, but nothing close to normal.”

By Aditi Roy and J.R. Reed
May 26, 2020
Source and complete article: CNBC.com



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