These Female Entrepreneurs Create Digital Communities With Wine

Posted: Mar 02, 2021

Since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, U.S. wine sales have skyrocketed. According to Nielsen, “combined U.S. dollar sales of wine were almost $2.5 billion in March [2020], an increase of nearly 30% versus one year prior.” By July, the Wine Analytics Report showed “consumer spending on domestic wine in June was $3.4 billion, and wine spending for the 12 months ending in June reached $70 billion.”

At bars, restaurants and wineries, however, wine sales declined or disappeared entirely due to mandatory shutdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions. So, we’re drinking plenty of wine, but not at crowded restaurants or on group trips to wine country.

However, four women created businesses to bring the communal aspect of wine to private homes and remote businesses throughout the pandemic. From curated boxes of bubbly with special glassware, to virtual tastings of wine, beer and even coffee, these entrepreneurs created new ways for drinks to bring us together.

Wine and liquor shops were deemed essential businesses at the start of the pandemic, but social distancing made it difficult to learn about the wines you were buying through casual, in-store conversations with local merchants. Wine educator and consultant Kelly Mitchell saw this as an opportunity to create a wine club, Kelly Selects, that delivers hand-picked wines and consumer education with each shipment.

“I put together a well-rounded set representing regional and varietal diversity,” says Mitchell. “I favor small production and minimal-intervention winemaking. Food friendliness is also an important factor because it includes tasting notes and pairing recommendations.”

Mitchell sources bottles from retailer Wired for Wine, and she says their value take center stage, not marketing, labels or branding.

“This is a major differentiator from the structure of most wine clubs,” she says. “There’s also a great sense of community that has formed organically online via Instagram. Having Kelly Selects has allowed me to connect with a broader national audience over wine.”

By Chasity Cooper
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