How we saved our wine business from COVID-19

Priority Wine Pass has always been about connecting wine lovers with wineries. Our traditional business is a wine tasting pass that provides passholders exclusive benefits while wine tasting in the major wine regions on the West Coast and as soon as the pandemic hit, we realized we needed to pivot our business model in a big way. 

Our new direction was virtual wine tastings, which have allowed us to thrive despite widespread winery closures in the U.S. While this may not sound revolutionary now, we launched our tastings with a very different and intentional approach from others in the industry. First, we looked to our traditional business for guidance. Over the years, we have found that taking the time to match customers with the right wineries leads to happier tastings and more sales. It’s that extra bit of customer service and attention to customer experience that has helped us grow in the wake of the 2008 recession, survive California’s wildfires, and now a global pandemic.

Moreover; we watched as wineries rolled out webinar-style virtual tastings, in which customers could pre-order wine and jump on a predetermined weekly call. But while a winery can hypothetically make more money by grouping strangers together and selling bulk shipments, it detracts from the personal intimacy of the traditional tasting experience. When we launched our tastings, we knew we had to be very careful about the wineries we partnered with. We only wanted wineries that could commit to one-on-one attention. 

Our goal was to recreate the experience that a customer would have if they were actually in the tasting room. We decided to do the same type of matchmaking we do with our wine pass customers and we allowed for customization. We’ve learned that virtual tastings come with a wide variety of use cases, so we’ve focused on being as adaptable as possible.

Above is the March launch video to announce our new service

Since launching, our virtual tastings have proven to be very successful for our business, our partners, and consumers. We have become the leading provider of virtual wine tasting experiences and have hosted virtual tastings for major companies like Google, Amazon, Salesforce, and Pinterest. As wineries begin to open again, we are ready and able to support our customers however they choose to enjoy wine tastings, be it in person, or online.

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