People are being asked to forego non-essentials – including visits to wine-tasting rooms. This hurts the bottom line for Arizona wine growers, but it’s not nearly as painful as the mass closures of restaurants, hotels and wine shops, where they do the bulk of their sales. Many hope to pick up the slack through wine clubs and direct-mail services.
Some wineries have gone digital, connecting with their customer base via services like Zoom. Kent Callaghan (Callaghan Vineyards) and Todd Bostock (Dos Cabezas Wineworks) are offering what they call Digital Wine Research, a series of interactive, online wine study sessions. You order the wines in advance, so you have them ready for class. In April, the winemakers hosted classes like Intermediate Tannin Talk and Introduction to Wines with Gravitational Pull. I joined one and found it engaging, informative and entertaining. It was also great to see some familiar faces.
Bostock rolled out the program “when it became clear that tasting rooms would be closed and that sales through our restaurant partners would also come to a screeching halt,” he says. “This initiative provided a financial lifeline. Additionally, [it allows] us to stay engaged with our community, stay in touch and virtually gather… [it’s] what enjoying wine is all about: sharing, connecting.”
To join the courses, go to doscabezas.com to get the spring semester course catalog and instructions on how to get the wines. The classes take place online via Zoom every Friday and normally last around an hour or so. Get comfortable in the comfort of your own home and lie back to geek out with like-minded people who not only share a love of wine, but also Arizona wine. Cheers to learning!