By Rick VanSickle
When the founders of #openlocalwine day launched the debut event last spring in the midst of a pandemic, local wineries were experiencing tough times with tasting rooms (as we know them) closed down north and south of the border.
The concept of #openlocalwine day is an initiative from Gina Shay, regional editor, Michigan, of The Cork Report, and Lenn Thompson, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Cork Report, which covers wineries all over North America, save California, Oregon, and Washington.
Through online sales, curbside pickup, and a lot of creativity, local wineries in most of the U.S. and Canada were able to weather that storm. Once summer arrived, many were able to re-open (though with restrictions and new policies to ensure the safety of customers and staff alike) depending on where you are.
Things are better today for local wineries, overall. Few are thriving, but most are hanging on and we’re all hopeful that the newly available vaccines will help us all get back to some semblance of normalcy at some point in 2021.
That said — local wineries still need the support of their biggest fans. That support is the only reason they’ve been able to make it to this point.
With that in mind, Shay and Thompson announced that the first #openlocalwine event of 2021 will take place on Saturday, April 10.
Wines In Niagara has decided to jump on board with our friends from the popular Cork Report with this great project to help local Ontario wineries whose plight is mirrored by those south of the border, with many wineries still not quite open to the public.
“It’s not just about helping your local wineries by buying wine, it’s also about celebrating with fellow local wine lovers,” said Shay and Thompson. “We look forward to the day when that is the focus of the event rather than the pandemic!”
To take part in #openlocalwine all you need to do is:
• Get a bottle of local wine (or cider) and open it Saturday, April 10.
• Enjoy it with a nice meal – either home-cooked or takeout from your favourite local restaurant.
• Post picture(s) of the wine or wines online – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – using the hashtag #openlocalwine. And tell us why you picked that wine (or wines) and who you are sharing it with.
• Raise a glass to the winemaker who made it.
• Drink it and enjoy it with your family. Please also make sure that you @ mention the winery/winemaker.
As well, tag the following:
The Cork Report
That will help us see and then share your posts with the larger #openlocalwine community.
Remember, ALL ARE WELCOME. We always want this event to be open to as many people as possible. That’s why we keep it easy to do and invite people from every corner of wine country to participate!
Wines In Niagara will compile a list of special #openlocalwine offers and will be updating the list as new offers come in. Time is short, so please get that info to us as soon as possible.
Based on what was learned in 2020, the most successful winery offers were “#openlocalwine packs” of two-to-four bottles of wine – with either discounted or free shipping.
That’s our recommendation for any winery participating in the events in 2021.
What we need from you to promote your offer for #openlocalwine day:
• Winery Name
• #openlocalwine offer title
• Details, price of the offer
• Direct URL for the offer on your site (without this you can’t be listed on the offers site)
First local offers
Konzelmann Estate Winery (Niagara)
Everything Happens for a Riesling package includes three terroir driven Rieslings, all grown on the estate’s Lakefront Vineyard. Also included is a branded charcuterie board. How to get it: Go here
Westcott Vineyards (Niagara)
• Westcott Classics Pack (10% off), includes two bottles of Estate and Reserve Chardonnays and two bottles of Estate and Reserve Pinot Noir.
• How to get it: Go here