April 3, 2020


With COVID-19 changing the reality of our world, the age of computers and the internet are becoming a daily response to social distancing. Schools, businesses, and Houses of Worship are going virtual. It is only a matter of time before wine tastings go virtual. A winery in the Texas Hill Country is getting creative to keep business going during the coronavirus outbreak. A creative winery in Stonewall off Highway 290 on the way to Fredericksburg, Kuhlman Cellars is now hosting ‘Wine Time Live’ on Facebook and conducting virtual tastings for people who purchase their wines online. “It’s just really important to make sure that we are connecting with our customers, connecting with our community and really just connecting with each other,” said co-founder Chris Cobb. The Kuhlman winery team started working on plans to host the virtual wine tasting in early March, before tasting rooms across Texas were ordered to shut down by a statewide Executive Order. Chris Cobb further added, “Even though there’s a lot of hard news out there and a lot of bad news out there, you know, we share happy thoughts and we can smile. Usually, April is one of the busiest months for the winery, with hundreds of customers on a Saturday, but from March 14 to 21, Cobb said revenue dropped by about 78%!”
The staff usually would enjoy a glass of wine together at the end of a busy day, but now they’re taking that glass of wine online and having a virtual “Wine Time Live” that gets broadcast on the Kuhlman Cellars’ Facebook Page. “When people order wine online, they will also receive a webinar invite to join the pre-scheduled virtual tastings,” Cobb said. “It’s really about nurturing and helping all of us through this time,” Cobb said.
This concept is starting to become a daily virtual reality. Wineries like Becker, Messina Hof, Haak, Llano Estacado, Brennan, and others have a statewide distribution and can be found in most grocery stores and wine shops. These wines have an advantage over the smaller wineries since their wines are available locally and immediately. However, many wineries are starting to offer their wines with free in-state shipping if a minimum number are ordered. Furthermore, a significant number of those wineries are discounting their wines by 20% to 30% to add advantages to order wines from these Texas boutique wineries in consideration of a two-day wait. With the weather so mild, now is a good time to order from those boutique wineries. Many of those wines will come with tasting notes. In some cases, you might even get an autographed wines signed by the winemaker. I predict in the next week or so that several wineries will follow the virtual footsteps of Kuhlman Cellars and provide FB/Youtube virtual wine tastings. BTW, these virtual wine tastings online are open to all ages! However, wines purchases MUST be done by someone that is 21 years old or older. That’s the LAW!
With these virtual wine tastings, bars being closed, and people being sequestered at home, hopefully the amount of drunk driving will be dramatically reduced. When this happens, lives will be saved!
Last Sunday evening, Bernhardt Winery hosted Shake Russell in a virtual evening concert which included a sunset toast by winemaker Jerry Bernhardt. Look for more of these virtual concerts at wineries across the State of Texas.
Of course, you can go online to order wines at almost all of the Texas wineries. For a complete list of Texas wineries, go to the website www.txwines.org/texas-wineries-vineyards/ hosted by the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association. They have hundreds of wineries listed over a virtual map. You can find local wineries in your part of the State using this virtual map.
One thing for certain, when you get your wine, share it with your BEST FRIEND quarantined with you! Wine is meant to be shared!

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