The wine sector was severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. This was especially true for wine retailers who sold their products online. According to Nielsen data, internet wine sales surged by roughly 234 percent in 2020 beginning in March 2020, despite widespread lockdowns and the closure of most pubs and restaurants. Online wine sales increased by more than 500% during the peak of the shutdown period in April 2020.
The increased availability of real-time data on customer purchasing tendencies was an unanticipated benefit of the surge in internet sales. Current data demonstrate that many, but not all, of the tendencies that evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic are still present, even as the country emerges from the pandemic-induced lockdowns.
I recently met down with Joe Fisch, the Chief Executive Officer of Wine Access, to discuss the current situation of the online wine market to gain a deeper knowledge of those trends.
Wine Access is an online wine sales retailer that has also been running multiple selected subscription programmes since 2019. The company, which has been in business since 2004, sells wine in 44 different states.
Its standard membership package consists of a quarterly shipment of six wines chosen by a panel of six experts for a cost of $120. It also has co-branded subscription programmes with Michelin and Wine Folly, which is run by wine writer Madeline Puckett.
According to Fisch, the subscription service has an 85% retention rate and has expanded by more than 400% since its beginning, although from a low foundation.
The company employs 40 people and has offices in Napa and San Francisco. Wine Enthusiast magazine named Wine Access the Top Online Wine Retailer of 2020.