In recent weeks, as the Detroit metro area became a hotspot for the novel coronavirus, everyone, with the exception of essential workers, has been told to stay home — but that doesn’t mean people can’t still get a taste of their favorite Michigan wines. As tasting rooms closed their doors, many winemakers have been forced to come up with new ways to do business including offering shipping for just one cent, case discounts, and virtual tastings.
All of these efforts to increase the online presence of Michigan wineries — or in some cases establish one for the first time — has resulted in a boost to e-commerce sales. Nielsen recently reported that total alcohol e-commerce sales grew by 291 percent versus the same time period last year. For many Michigan wineries, the recent growth in online sales is even stronger than that. “Four weeks into the tasting room closure, our e-commerce sales are up 900 percent year-over-year,” Gabe Marzonie, the marketing director for Leelanau Cellars, tells Eater.
While on-site sales remain stagnant during the statewide restaurant dining room closure mandate, Taylor Simpson of Good Harbor Vineyards and Aurora Cellars says that retail sales are up between 10 and 20 percent. “We have seen a surge in direct-to-consumer orders online,” she says.
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