As the sun starts to show its face more and more each day and the weather becomes nicer, the expected influx of people visiting North Fork wineries has been halted, with no end in sight. And many wineries have felt the pressure that has come with that.
“The New York wine industry is going to struggle to recoup wholesale business as food and hospitality businesses have shut down and will have difficulty reopening once we come out of this,” winemakers Alie Shaper and Robin Epperson-McCarthy of Chronicle Wines wrote in an email.
Lisa Sannino, co-owner of Sannino Vineyard, said she and her family have been trying to find ways to make up for revenue they would normally bring in at this time.
“Since we are a family-run winery, my husband Anthony, myself and my oldest daughter Marisa have been endlessly brainstorming ideas to replace revenue that we would normally generate from tasting room sales,” she said. “Physically we are healthy and we thank God, but emotionally we can honestly say we are nervous.”
But even through this time, there are ways Long Island wine lovers and other community members can help out their favorite local winery until they are able to safely reopen their tasting rooms.
Here are what some local wine industry leaders are saying you can do to help them out through this time.
Buy wine from the North Fork
As Jamesport Vineyards president Ron Goerler Jr. said, “People that are housebound tend to be drinking a lot more.” More drinking means less wine in stores. So when you go to replenish it, try to buy from a local winery rather than from bigger wineries elsewhere. “This will help our local economy as well as keeping our locals employed,” Sannino said.
Join a wine club or order online
Now more than ever will this be helpful to North Fork wineries. You’ll get a few cases of wine that you can pick up at the winery (or sometimes delivered to you), and often places will offer discounts on additional wines and free tastings once the wineries reopen. It’s an easy way for you to help out now while reaping benefits later when tasting rooms open back up. Plus, you’ll get to know the staff and a little bit more about their wine.
“We are blessed with a very loyal fan club who have gone out of their way to support us, driving by the tasting room to pick up wine and chatting for a bit through an open window six feet away,” Shaper and Epperson-McCarthy wrote.
Buy gift cards for future use
It’s bud break season, which means wineries need to pay for labor to take care of their crop. If you’re not in the market for wine, consider purchasing a gift card for future use, or even a gift that can be paid forward to someone you know needs it right now.
Buy from local liquor stores
Liquor stores are considered an essential business and most carry local wines. One part of winery wholesale is selling to restaurants, but another component is to liquor stores. Vintage Mattituck and Greenport Wines and Spirits have a great selection of local wines and offer free delivery while many others are still open for pickup or curbside delivery.
“The wholesale doesn’t stop, it keeps moving through liquor stores,” Goerler said. “People can support us that way by going there.”