Online wines sales and wine tours – 2 sides of a same story

2020 and 2021 have meant a rapid increase for wine sales online.

The situation created by Covid has brought enormous opportunities and accelerated a shift in the distribution channels long expected by wine online players.

But as in most stories, there are two sides. Wine tourism, for long the most developed online segment in the wine industry, crashed in those 2 same years.

Little could be done by online wine tourism agencies like niche market leaders in Spain Wine Tourism Spain, or even by giant travel portals like Conde Nast who had a difficult time in inspiring customers not able to travel.

Keep reading to analyze how a digital transformation has also impacted the wine industry.

Online wines sales and wine tours - 2 sides of a same story
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The impact of travel restrictions in the wine industry.

The tourism industry was one of the main affected by the restrictions due to COVID-19.

2020 brought plenty of changes, but certainly it had negative impacts on tourism.

Flights had to be canceled, and only flights that were meant for essential travel were done.

Less people traveling directly translates into hotels rooms that were not booked, restaurants that were surviving by selling to-go, and tours that were not walked.

Was it a catastrophy? For sure, but only for those who did not reacted quickly.

Wine tours and festivals have been essential activities that generate income to their businesses.

For wine beginner or expert travelers, the wonderful experience of visiting a winery, getting to walk the vineyards, and see the whole process of the wine production was not conceived, at least for this year.

Wine producers take advantages of wine tours and festivales, since it is when they see an important increase on their sales, but it got cut off and wineries had to search for a solution to keep up their sales volume, so going online was the answer.

Wine tourists tasting wine in vineyard
Black couple having online date, drinking red wine

The online world is not closed for Wineries.

If travelers are not visiting wineries, let the wine go to them.

And this was the big answer for wine businesses, and turn to look the online world to support their sales.

If travelers had to stay at home, it also meant that people somehow had to find their own ways of relax.

How to get a bottle of wine without going to the store? Buy wine online!

Wine consumers had to be creative to keep that connection with their loved ones, or have a chilled afternoon, so the search for online wine shops increased.

There were already running some of the best online wine shops as Food and wine magazine states, but also wineries from all around started to develop their own online stores.

The advantages of an online wine shop were tangible.

There were even stores, such as Wine.com, that saw growth of nearly 119 percent in calendar year 2020 with revenues of $329 million. 

There is no doubt that despite the challenge, it was also a golden opportunity for the wine industry.

What will the online future bring to the Wine industry?

Wine as a product that easily can fit to the digital world, but the escence of doing a Wine tour is certainly hard to ressemble online.

2020 brought a lot of changes around the world, and certainly plenty of wine businesses had to handle quickly that change, but some aspects about the future will still remain uncertain.

Many open questions remain open. Will wine sales online keep their level once people comes back to “normal” lives? And which model will have profited more from this growth? online wine clubs? market places? or the wineries themselves through online sales. 

On the wine travel side of things; how long will it take to get to pre-pandemic levels? Most experts claimed in late 2020, that 2024 will be the year, but in recents months this expectation is being moved to 2021.

Merging both stories together, it is very likely that a traveller who books travel online and visits a winery will be today more likely to order wine from the winery online, than before the pandemic. 

As people has become more used to do grocery shopping online, it is most probable that some shopping patterns will remain the same.

It will be a matter of time to see the consumer behaviour along the wine industry.

Senior couple celebrating Christmas on video call eating and drinking wine with family

Digital transformation it is not for a specific industry.

And by the phrase digital transformation, it might be easily related to the tech industry and that it is just for tech businesses, and it is not.

Digital transformation runs in different business proccesses among different industries.

The wine industry also can take leverage on what benefits technology can bring.

For sure in the future more businesses will keep adding more technologies into their proccesses.

More about Digital Business.