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Faced with an imminent threat or crisis, our reptilian brain automatically takes over. This most primitive part of our brain is responsible for our survival instincts so in a crisis, without delay, it gets us right to the essential instinctive choice to fight, to flee or to freeze.

If you’re not sure which reaction you’re having, let’s see if any of the statements below sound familiar.

Freeze: “OMG. I don’t know what do. Any move is too risky right now. Let’s just wait and see what happens. Let’s hunker down and wait until this blows over. Hopefully, we’ll still be here then. But who knows.” You’re frozen!

Flight: “I’m outta here. We’re not going to be able to weather this storm. Let’s shut everything down, including our social media activity. This hardly seems like the time to be posting. Let’s put this winery up for sale.” You are fleeing!

Fight: “Let’s pivot. Let’s create special offers for our Wine Club members and promotions for the general public too, like free shipping and partnerships with local restaurants to do pairings for their to-go offerings. What about a virtual tasting room and virtual wine tastings? Let’s post videos to let our loyal customers know we’re still here fighting through this and we still have our great wine they can buy!” That’s what being a fighter sounds like!

There’s no denying this is a serious crisis and many wineries (like many restaurants and other businesses) may not re-open their doors on the other side of this pandemic. Here are some ideas to “fight” to survive and maybe even thrive.

Taking Your Tasting Room Online With Virtual Wine Tastings

There are a variety of formats to consider:

  1. Post a video of one of your tasting room team members, a manager or even your owner describing your wines on camera, maybe even with a food pairing suggestion or a cooking demo.
  2. Offer your customers the opportunity to order online and then, following delivery, book a Zoom or Skype call with one of your experts who will guide them through a tasting of the wines they’ve purchased.
  3. Create a “Virtual Tasting Room” in your own facility with someone from your staff taking video calls and helping your customers select the wines to order for delivery – simulating an in-person customer service interaction, just without the actual wine.
  4. Host a Zoom Tasting Party for your Wine Club Members or the public where everyone gets a chance to talk about a wine they’re enjoying during the call.
  5. Host a Zoom Happy Hour, maybe even featuring some live music by a local musician who is not getting the gigs he or she was expecting to play right now.


Last week I had a great conversation with two fellow consultants about the wine industry and how some wineries have quickly pivoted to adapt to these unexpected new market conditions. Click below and listen in on our 15-minute conversation – maybe there are some ideas in there that you can use at your own winery.

Are you looking for creative ways to keep your winery vibrant and active? I work with wineries to train their tasting room teams to connect better with customers so they sell more wine, grow wine club subscriptions, and create raving fans. Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to brainstorm together some ways you could burst out of “freeze” or “flight” and give your winery a fighting chance to navigate your way through this crisis, keep your team together and develop new sales channels at the same time.