3 Ways to Ensure Your Winery is Pandemic Proof

August 13, 2020

Given California’s track record with natural disasters, it’s easy to say that we are no stranger to unforeseen challenges. Like everyone else we are talking about Coronavirus. In the face of increased cases, the Nordby Construction Services team is consulting with our clients on this challenge along with the familiar ones, i.e. wildfires and earthquakes. In this Nordby effect, we share three ways to ensure your winery facility is resilient and ready to meet the challenge.

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1. Equip Tasting Rooms with Technology to Offer Virtual Experiences and Configure for Social Distancing.

According to Rob McMillan, founder of Silicon Valley Bank, tasting rooms are critical for many of the industry’s players and generate more than half of winery sales. Wine clubs are responsible for an average of 28% of sales. During times of quarantine, tasting rooms should be equipped to provide virtual experiences. Integrating AV equipment to be able to provide a comparable experience for wine club members is one way to provide the tasting room experience and virtually connect with customers. When business is open to the public, social distancing measures can be taken to ensure safety and also keep employees and patrons safe.  These measures include reconfiguring interior space to allow for additional space between employees and patrons, upgrading your HVAC systems to maximize outside airflow and UV systems for duct work, and installing touchless technology fixtures and motion sensing light switches.

Nordby Custom Projects has a number of strategies to mitigate contagion risk.

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2. Reconfigure Winery Operations to Grow in a Traditional Model

Under this conventional model, a winery sells its wine to a distributor, then the distributor presents their book, or portfolio, of wines to an in-state retailer, who in turn resells the wine to consumers.  A winery that has established relationships with distributors who sell to grocery and retail stores may find themselves in a better position than those relying on tasting rooms. During quarantine, alcohol sales went up.  It would not be a stretch to include growing the traditional business model.  In order support an increase in distribution, cased good storage expansion may be in your sights.

Nordby Winery Advisors can help you analyze your current operations and determine the best path toward making sure your facility withstands these uncertain times. We perform a comprehensive inventory of your equipment, do a facility deferred maintenance evaluation, operations evaluation, a risk analysis and provide a CapEx budget that accounts for our findings.

Nordby Metal Buildings is ready to work on designs to take care of your specific cased storage concerns.

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3. Reconfigure Operations to Expand Direct to Consumer (D2C) Model

The vast majority of online D2C wine sales comes from consumers who previously visited a tasting room and later purchased wine or signed up for a wine club. For smaller and midsize wineries in particular, D2C sales are a critical source of revenue, but due to their size, most wineries have struggled to expand their e-commerce reach beyond consumers who have previously visited their tasting room. 20% of wineries accounting for more than 89% of e-commerce sales were collecting more emails and charging much less for shipping. With the demand for increased distribution, a smaller and midsize winery may need to expand conditioned space to support case storage as well as shipment preparation areas.

Nordby Metal Buildings is ready to work on designs to take care of your specific operational challenges based on recent the D2C changes.

Nordby Wine Advisors can help you analyze your current operations and determine the best path toward making sure your facility is ready for these changes. We perform a comprehensive operations evaluation and risk analysis, and provide a CapEx budget that accounts for our findings.

The damage caused by a pandemic or natural disaster is likely to be far more costly than proactively adopting resilient strategies. This is the perfect time to evaluate the cost benefit of new operational strategies.  Please reach out to Nordby to discuss how we can be an advocate for your successful transformation in a time when adaptability is the key to success.