Coronavirus: How France's winemakers are coping

Black grapes thriving in a vineyard despite coronavirus strains on wine tourism.
COVID-19 is affecting France's independent wineries

What does Covid-19 mean for France's independent winemakers? Jonathan Hesford reveals all.

The current Coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of us in one way or another. This month I want to talk about the impact on the wine world and that of smaller, more specialised producers in particular.

Wine tourism in France the first to suffer

The first area that was hit by the outbreak of the virus was tourism. Each year millions of visitors to France will visit vineyards and cavistes, go to restaurants and drink wine in cafés. Bordeaux is the second most visited city in France. Until recently, many wineries relied on selling their wine via négociants, not even opening their doors to the public, but over the last 15 years, many estates have developed successful oenotourisme activities by creating tasting rooms, on-site restaurants, accommodation and offering visitors activities such as tutored tastings, guided walks around the vines, winemaking demonstrations as well as one-off and seasonal events, like concerts or dinners.

Wine tourism saw an increase of 33% between 2009 and 2016 when 10 million people visited wineries. The relatively small wine region of Burgundy received over 1.6 million visitors alone. The numbers have grown even more since then, especially ...

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