'Everything will be alright'

Wineries’ creative responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, including Italian producer Zorzettig’s reassuring message as it raises funds for its local hospital and Californian winemakers Zoom-ing in on virtual tastings…


Annalisa Zorzettig: “We love our land and our community and we asked ourselves how we could help”

Everything will be alright
  • Chris Boiling
  • 2020-03-24
“Andrà tutto bene” – “everything will be alright”. That’s the reassuring message, in eight different languages, promoted by Italian producer Zorzettig on the label of a limited-edition bottle of Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso 2015.
The Friuli-based winery has released 720 bottles of the €35 wine in support of the intensive care unit at its local hospital, Ospedale Universitario Santa Maria della Misericordia in Udine, which is on the frontline in Italy’s Covid-19 emergency.
The wine, which is selling on the e-commerce site, has been made from the local red variety because this grape is “well-known for being a resilient grape which has endured many a challenge in the past”.
Proceeds will be used to buy “necessary and much needed equipment” at the hospital.
The reason for eight languages is that eight is a lucky number in China, where the pandemic started. The circular arrangement of the phrases represents a hug – which Zorzettig says is “a familiar gesture we cannot share right now”.
Annalisa Zorzettig, who runs the family business, says: “Andrà tutto bene is a good wish for the future that needs to be translated in a practical action right now. We love our land and our community, and we asked ourselves how we could help. This is how we came up with the idea of a limited edition with a good wish aimed at going beyond space and time. We love the idea that families will buy this bottle to share it with beloved ones seated around the same table. In the future, this will be a reminder of a challenging time we were able to overcome and of a moment which has taught us, once more, how precious are little joys and beloved ones.”

Relais La Collina and surroundng vineyards
The Zorzettig family has been making wine in the heart of the Colli Orientali del Friuli, on the hills of Spessa di Cividale, for more than 100 years.
The family owns 115ha of vineyards and produces an average of 800,000 bottles a year.
About 50% is exported, with Austria and Germany the traditional markets, but Asia, the United States, Australia and northern Europe were growing.
Its wine tourism offer includes a guest house, Relais La Collina (above), located a few kilometres from Cividale del Friuli. The small hotel has nine rooms in a renovated rural building, featuring a view of the Friulian Dolomites.
A new winery, with capacity for 1.3m bottles, and wine tourism centre is being built and is due to open in July 2021. The building will be integrated in the landscape, both in shape and use of local stone and wood.

How other producers are responding to the Covid-19 crisis

‘We’re thankful to have tools today that allow us to do tastings virtually’

Virtual tastings

After closing their tasting rooms, several Californian wineries have introduced virtual tastings.
  • Napa Valley winery Clos Du Val offers two wine tasting packages: a red and white wine four-bottle variety pack ($385), or an all-red wine option ($395), both including a Coravin. However, any online purchase of four different Clos Du Val wines comes with the option of a virtual tasting led by a member of the Clos Du Val team. “We want to continue to share our story and be able to personally connect with our customers over a glass of delicious wine. In today’s day and age, who says that has to happen at the winery? We’re thankful to have tools today that allow us to do that virtually,” said director of dtc & marketing, Shannon Murrachioli.
  • St Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery, also based in Napa Valley, is holding a virtual wine tasting every Thursday afternoon until April 23. “We want to continue to enjoy our wines with our friends around the world, so we are bringing back our virtual wine tastings. With improvements in technology we are able to engage more directly with our customers than in the past,” says Emma Swain, CEO. One of the winemaking team will host the chat on Zoom. “We feel Zoom is the best platform to facilitate a more interactive session,” explains Emma. Facebook Live will also be an option for wine lovers looking to tune in at either 3pm or 5.30pm (PDT). For this promotion, the winery created a six-pack Injoy @ Home Tasting Kit containing the wines to be discussed for the next six weeks with promotional pricing and shipping included.
  • Napa Valley’s Mondavi Sisters Angelina, Alycia, Riana, and Gigi are encouraging customers to open their Aloft and Dark Matter Wines and join winemaker Angelina for a virtual tasting. Angelina will tell the sisters’ story and explore the vintage and bottle (or bottles) that customers have selected from their cellars. Virtual tastings are offered via Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp or FaceTime. “In the last decade we have navigated fires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters worldwide. We are confident we will overcome Covid-19 and will come out stronger as a community,” say the sisters.
  • When the annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience was cancelled, Sonoma County’s Flambeaux Wine decided to pour its 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon online via Instagram Live instead.
Texas winery Kuhlman Cellars is including shipping and complimentary wine webinars with purchases of online wine bundles. The virtual wine webinars take place on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Upon purchase, customers receive a link to book their complimentary virtual tasting. “Coming together, slowing down, breaking bread and sharing a glass is a cornerstone of our ideals. We support each other during trials and we do not journey alone,” states Chris Cobb, co-founder. “We want to connect, socialise and support each other. These webinars are the first in a series of activities we will deploy to help us all through the coming days.”

Spanish winery produces sanitary alcohol

González Byass has made its technical and human resources teams available for the manufacture and supply of sanitary alcohol and hydro-alcoholic gel across Spain, giving over its production facilities in Chinchón (Madrid), Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) and the distillery Bodega Las Copas in Tomelloso (Ciudad Real).

Practical responses

  • Some wineries, such as the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, Sonoma Country, introduced shift working to keep employees away from each other.
  • Nearby, Pech Merle Winery introduced curbside pick-up for local customers. The Stoller Wine Group in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Jamie Slone Wines in Santa Barbara are doing something similar. “We’ve heard from many of our members and regular guests that they appreciate the option to still support local businesses and the opportunity to get out of their house in a safe environment,” said Tracy Timmins, vice president of direct sales for Stoller Wine Group.
  • Vintage Wine Estates, a Santa Rosa-based portfolio that includes BR Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, Sonoma Coast Vineyards in Bodega Bay and Cosentino Winery in Napa, transferred hospitality staff to other duties, such as telemarketing sales and the warehouse or bottling line.

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