Coronavirus forces US wine importers to get creative

The impact of the coronavirus on businesses is forcing wine importers in the US to get creative in order to continue to sell their wines.

Four of the Bordeaux château represented by Vignobles Sullivan

Importer Tom Sullivan of the Miami Beach-based Vignobles Sullivan is making use of a new relaxed law in New York that allows restaurants and bars to sell their wines to go.

Vignobles Sullivan was already taking a hit from new tariffs and had faced the threat of additional tariffs from the Trump administration.

He decided to engage directly with consumers with an advert that ran in the Saturday editions of the New York Post and The New York Times flagging up which restaurants and merchants across the country customers would be able to find his wines on sale.

The advert featured four of the Bordeaux château Sullivan represents: Château Gaby, Château du Parc, Château Moya and Château Auguste.

Beneath them was a list of New York restaurants offering to go wine sales, including Balthazar, Le Baratin, Blondies and Baar Baar, alongside a list of wine stores in New York that were still open for business.

Additionally, the ad listed participating stores and restaurants in six other states from Maine and Tennessee to California, and one online sales channel, WineExpress.com.

“We had our distributors contact restaurants and stores that would be able to do takeout sales,” Sullivan told db. He said that is was too early to tell if the ads are drawing in customers, but he is already thinking about what Vignobles Sullivan might do as a followup.

In spite of the tariffs, Sullivan says that Bordeaux has been selling well in the US. “We’ve had several good vintages, and people are always interested in Bordeaux,” he told db.

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