American wineries are beginning to lose their nerve as business customers in restaurants, bars, and tasting rooms dwindle amid the pandemic shutdown. Much of the wine industry is scrambling for solutions.
Matt and Sara Licklider—owners of Lioco Wine Company, a small wine producer in California—recently furloughed their nine-person staff, including themselves. The decision came after the company faced steep revenue losses due to restaurant and tasting room closures, which make up for the majority of its sales. As the coronavirus eats away at the hospitality industry, independent businesses owners aren’t going down without a fight. “We aren’t going anywhere,” Sara Licklider said. “But I’m not sure what our business will look like on the other side of all this.”
While some wineries simply put things on hold, others have been able to hang in there with meager sales. “I expected sales to crash for months,” said Phillippe Langner, owner of Hesperian Wines, “but in fact they haven’t…I can still work.” Langner has been able to keep his business alive with cost-cutting measures such as dropping the price of his $150 cabernet by half and maintaining a small staff.
As circumstances grow tense in the hospitality industry, American wineries are both hopeful and fearful of what’s to come. Get the full story at the New York Times here.