Written by

Laurie Millotte


March 18, 2020

Some help for winery communication during coronavirus

As winery tasting rooms close temporarily and customers keep distance, get advice to communicate with your audience and make authentic connections that go beyond coronavirus (COVID-19) messaging.

Now is the moment to communicate with your customers and audience.


It may not seem like the right time to try to get their attention, but the truth is, they want to hear from you. Your winery is one of their happy places. You are able to provide one of life’s pleasures that can still be enjoyed: wine.

Most of us are on screens much more than we typically would be, and our remote connections are indispensable ties that bind.

We know that this is a difficult time, but it’s also a time of opportunity, a chance to tell your winery’s story beyond the fact that you may be closed or geared down because of coronavirus. The Outshinery team always works remotely, and we understand that being apart physically doesn’t actually mean being apart in ways that matter. If possible, social distancing could be reconsidered as simply distancing, with the social element celebrated, not deleted.

The Outshinery team got together on Tuesday morning, as we always do, over Skype, and talked about ways that wineries can reach their customers. Our group lives in eight different countries, and yet the time zones and boundaries dissolve as we come to understand we are all living with the effects of this pandemic.

We don’t have all the answers, and like everyone else, we are floating in unknown waters. But here are some suggestions that perhaps you can use now. From our virtual home to yours!

Think over the delivery chain

For scheduled shipments and new orders, be sure to collect an accurate address for delivery. Many of your customers may use business addresses for wine shipments, and those could be closed doors at the moment. Your customers will most likely forget this detail, so double-check with them personally to be sure the wine will arrive where they are!

Tone of voice

This is a big deal. Think about how your audience is feeling right now, and try to imagine what they need, what they want to hear. The time they take to interact with your winery online should have the same goal as the tasting room experience: it’s about them. Sure, you can (and need) to share the logistics of the situation, but also let them know that you are thinking of them.
Write less about “we” and more about “you”—for example: instead of “we deliver” think about your customer’s experience and try “you receive wine at your door.” This goes right into your audience’s experience. It’s powerful.

Nurture relationships

Besides online messages through general means (newsletter, email, social media) consider picking up the phone or sending a personalized message. We predict that actual phone conversations will make a comeback and help break up boredom with the interaction we crave. Some of your customers or members (or suppliers, partners, employees) have been with you for quite some time. Now is the opportunity to let them know that you consider them to be a friend. 

Make it easy to buy

Customers want to buy wine—make it easy on them. If you sell online, then be sure your ecommerce system is sharp and ready for action. If you aren’t there yet, make it easy to call or email. Don’t forget to ensure that they can buy gift cards. If for some reason you can’t ship wine now, let them make a purchase to support the future.

Offer something useful

Consider resources you have at your disposal that might entertain or educate people while stuck at home, hopefully with your wine. Does your tasting room manager have a cool trick to open a bottle without a corkscrew? Does your winery dog do something cute every two seconds? Does your winemaker have an interesting way of explaining her process? Take a quick video and share it. What about a virtual wine tasting? Either impromptu or with a few prearrangements? It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Amp up the benefits

Your wine club would absolutely dig a little extra love right now. Can you throw in a deeper discount or reduced shipping? Can you let them share a “friends and family deal”, available to nonmembers for a limited time? Can you give them a two for one ticket to an event that’s planned for later this year?  Get creative and remind them why they chose your club.

Adjust your landing page

People are cooking at home more these days—use your website as a source for recipes, pairing ideas or mini cooking challenges. What about maps, book recommendations or movie suggestions for wine lovers? Make your page a hub, a resource, a go-to for meaning and joy.

We’ve been around since…

You probably have an ‘about’ page somewhere, now could be the time to expand on that. Tell customers a bit more about your winery and your team. Look back on what you’ve learned, and share something meaningful from your experience. Everyone loves old photos, maybe now is the time to show off some memories from the early days. By showing your history, you intrinsically express that we will all weather the storm. It will mark us, but it won’t be the end of us.

Life doesn’t stop at the tasting room

In fact, there is lots of life in your vineyards, where the virus is invisible. In the northern hemisphere, Spring is here and vitality and nature keep going. Share signs of vines thriving and the vineyard team at work. For those following along from cities or isolated in their homes, seeing that greenery growing will feel so very good!

Share the love

Start a virtual game of tag with your neighbors and friends, and keep humans as the focus. If the restaurant down the street had to close temporarily, send some social media love their way and ask them to do the same for someone else. If your delivery person always comes wearing a smile, call that out online. Is the winery across the road experiencing a closure too? Lob a team photo their way and ask them to send one back. We may be isolated, but in a way we are isolated together. This chain is endless—we can’t wait to see what you do.

In conclusion

If this all seems a bit overwhelming, we get you. Pick one or two that feel right and move forward with a generous heart. Meanwhile, we’ve pulled together some links and further resources you can use right now:

“At the Winery”

New Lifestyle Image collection

A versatile collection depicting a visit to the winery and tasting room.

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