Wineries in the Okanagan have been experiencing a change in sales strategies as online purchasing grows and tasting rooms have bookings more tailored to serious buyers.
COVID-19 forced closures of tasting rooms and on-site sales for much of the spring and early summer, but demand for Okanagan wine did not diminish.
“Our online sales have exploded, and they continue to even after we’ve opened up now,” Three Sisters Winery operations manager David Klemchuk said.
“Every day we’re getting multiple (orders), so it’s been really great support to see.”
Dianne Oh, general manager of Mocojo Wines, said many of her sales are done on location since reopening but the online spike has stayed strong.
“We started with online sales last fall, thank goodness. The free shipping came earlier this year, in mid-May or so, and it’s been very well received,” Oh said.
Limits to tasting room capacities and online pre-booking have also been good for business, with tasters more likely to make significant purchases.
“We’ve noticed that if they’ve taken time to book appointments online that means they’re seeking us out specifically,” Deep Roots Winery winemaker and owner Will Hardman said.
“I think we’re looking towards the future just continuing on with this, maybe little tweaks here and there, improving our outdoor tasting areas, but this appointment-only system has been great for our customers and our staff.”
The system seems to be working, and some wineries have the attitude that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
“I think it’s not going to go away, I think it’s going to stick around and who knows, next year could be totally different, but I definitely think most places are just going to keep online bookings and see where we go from there,” Klemchuk said.
“As long as everyone’s respecting the pandemic, we can just keep on doing what we’re doing.”
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