British Columbia’s wineries are quickly developing new business strategies that will allow them to survive and prosper in the post-pandemic recessionary world. These new business models require accommodating regulatory changes.
Barbershops were among the businesses ordered to close in B.C. on March 21. My regular barbershop closed about a week earlier just as I realized I badly needed a haircut.
At the time, I joked that I would have to grow hippie hair. But by early April, my hair was growing wild and out of control and the extra weight was starting to hurt my neck. OK, that’s exaggerating a bit, but I wanted a cut.
As governments announce plans to re-start the economy, the B.C. wine industry needs to develop a set of operating protocols that will allow us to operate tasting rooms responsibly. We need to do this collectively, as a community, to maintain customer confidence, to protect our employees and guests, and to forestall our overly zealous regulators from imposing far less sensible rules than we can design ourselves. We need to work together right now so that we are ready when opening day comes.
Don’t misinterpret the recent announcements as meaning that your tasting room will be re-opening anytime soon. If you are an optimist, think about maybe re-opening in July or August; but also realize that we may lose the whole 2020 season and maybe even 2021.
Surviving Covid-19 requires that winery owners be quick to comprehend the overall severity of the pandemic, accept the economic reality of the situation and adjust their business plans accordingly.
The immediate impact of the pandemic has been a significant increase in overall wine and liquor sales, coupled with a seismic shift in distribution channels. Consumers in isolation are both increasing consumption and stockpiling in the face of ongoing uncertainty. Sales through the tasting room and restaurant channels have collapsed; replaced by dramatic increases in direct delivery/internet sales and in the liquor retail and grocery sales channels.
Recovery will be mostly up to us – our hard work, persistence and innovation. But government needs to help by reforming some of the rules that have slowed industry growth and which will now impede our recovery. Examples include the restrictions on the interprovincial shipment of wine, the prohibitions on secondary tasting rooms and the unavailability of wholesale pricing to restaurants in the hospitality industry. Removal of these restrictions would do much to aid the recovery. Continue reading “Guest Comment: A pandemic survival guide for B.C. wineries – How to weather the coronavirus”
Osoyoos radio personality Brock Jackson (EZ Rock) interviewed Frances Sologuk, owner of Osoyoos Home Hardware, this morning about how she and her staff are dealing with the crisis and how it’s affecting the community.
She’s suggested a great big street dance when this is all over.
Check out the audio link to Brock’s interview below and follow his broadcasts.