Between physical distancing and global travel restrictions, the closing of non-essential services and businesses, border closures, and entire countries under lock down, writing about a bottle of wine seems, well, kind of unimportant.
But winemakers, distillers, and brewers, sales representatives, liquor stores, and restaurants are an important part of the economy. These businesses employ and support many who rely upon the sales of these products for their livelihoods.
So, with a view to that, here are some ideas about how to support wineries, breweries and distilleries, help your locally-owned restaurants and liquor stores stay afloat, and perhaps most importantly, connect with others during these unsettled times.
Almost every winery and locally-owned wine/liquor store is offering free shipping or delivery on half or full cases right now if you live too far away to do a carefully orchestrated physically-distanced drive-by pickup. Some have also pledged to donate a percentage of sales to food banks and other worthy causes, making this purchasing decision even easier.
Craft breweries are offering online ordering and drive-by or delivery services. And if you can find even one Canadian craft distillery which hasn’t switched to the production of hand sanitizer at this point in time, I’ll literally eat my hat. Many are donating the products to first responders and hospitals, so make sure you buy a bottle or two of their regular products to help them cover those costs! Pay and order online, pop that trunk open if you drive-by to comply with distancing, go home with your supplies, and enjoy.
The virus has also hit the livelihoods of restaurateurs, and wait/bar staff really hard as well. Most of these folks have simply lost their jobs. In most jurisdictions, these businesses are only allowed to offer takeout at this point in time. So, support them with online or phone orders, pick up if you can (or have it delivered), tip generously, and enjoy that delicious food knowing you’ve helped someone stay in business and feed their own families maybe just one more day.
Finally, don’t let the uncertainty of Covid-19 stop you from getting together on video chat to mix cocktails, open a bottle, or crack a beer once your takeout order has arrived with your friends and family members. Do a little online searching to find an appropriate Covid-19 playlist (message me, I have an excellent one). Or, if the neighbours are up to it, set up some chairs at least 2m apart in the cul-de-sac and enjoy some carefully distanced social time in the late afternoon sun. If you’re an apartment dweller, this may be what balconies were made for.
Whatever you decide to do (or not), don’t be a #Covidiot – stay safe and healthy out there, my friends. And thanks for helping others.