Support our Small US Winemakers!

4/21/20 -

We are in the midst of something entirely unprecedented. The view from New York right now is grim as we watch our friends and familys suffer not just from this inexplicable virus, but also widespread unemployment. The hospitality industry is an enormous part of the NYC economy and way of life, and the vast majority of bars and restaurants have had to close or scale down their operations immensely to take-out/delivery only. The New York Times reported that retail sales have seen the biggest decline in thirty years (since they began recording this data), which could have disastrous effects on the economy going forward. But it is not just the people who work for these businesses who are feeling the effects; it sets off a chain reaction that ripples through all of our suppliers. Larger corporations may struggle as they work to comply with health regulations and lower demand, but this can be devastating for small businesses. Many of our friends and favorite producers are, like us, holding on month by month, sometimes week by week. Because of the widespread "shelter-in-place" restrictions, small wineries in the US have had to lay off huge swaths of their already small staffs and close up and lose much needed revenue from tasting rooms, all while facing hugely diminished wholesale demand without the help of bars and restaurants across the country.

I've spoken to a handful of producers that we work with who are doing everything in their power to keep their teams employed, but have had to face the reality of distancing requirements and loss of income.

Kenny Likitprakong from Hobo Wines (Banyan, Camp, Folk Machine, Ghostwriter) tells me, "We are all working alone now, one person at the winery, two at vineyards but separated, and me, mostly at my home office or the vineyard. We have canceled all of our upcoming bottlings. We are likely faced with shrinking or canceling long term grape contacts that we have worked almost 20 years at securing."

Chris Walsh of Little John Lane/End of Nowhere echoed this sentiment and worries about what this next season will bring. "The loss of orders really puts into jeopardy my ability to meet my obligations going forward...paying farmers, bottling wines and what about the 2020 harvest? The uncertainty is the worst. Do you even make wine this year? Or how much?"

Brianne Day of Day wines is doing whatever she can to slim down costs and drive sales, "offering discounts on quantity, or free shipping really helps to drive product, but of course, packaging, employee hours, and shipping costs all take bites out of the margins."

It can be overwhelming these days, I know. If you're like me, desperately wondering what are the ways in which you can help out, please consider supporting these incredible winemakers who in turn supply us with wonder, exploration, pleasure, and deliciousness....otherwise known as: wine. It is the mission of Chambers Street Wines to champion the work of growers and producers who are committed to farming practices that support or restore the environment, who eschew additives and other chemicals that are found in many bulk commercial wines, and of course, who make beautiful, enjoyable bottles of wine.

Despite everything, everyone is abundatly hopeful! All of these producers are eager for more opportunities to get their wines on our shelves and into your glasses. Retail wine shops are, for now, one of the only ways to access these bottles and every time I get to order another case for our shop I know I'm putting a small, but meaningful dent towards keeping these businesses running.

Below are some of my favorite small producers from the US who could really use a little love these days! We've even put together a special case of wines including 5 whites, 2 rosés, and 5 reds in a range of styles to help out 12 different, fabulous, independent winemakers for $250! Michelle DeWyngaert

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