Covid-19 and the wine business?

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Alex Lake, Feb 24, 2020.

  1. I was wondering if the international nature of the wine trade combined with tastings/dinners (sometimes sharing glasses - nasally even if not involving lip contact) makes a spread of Covid19 at tastings and wine-fairs a particular hazard? Someone at a recent offline suggested that my moving out to the country might help reduce my chances of being affected. I certainly go to fewer events now....
     
    Leon Marks likes this.
  2. I suspect that any import / export business is likely to have significant impacts - at least on how business is done by the trade.

    What I think is going to be really interesting is - if there *is* a significant, long-term reduction in the amount of business travel - what will this mean? Do the relationships that people happened to have at the start of 2020 become incredibly important to their careers? Does it turn out that being a wine buyer can be done in half the time and just as effectively?

    Semi related - iirc back in the earlier days of this forum, there were occasional virtual offlines, where people all tasted / drank the same wine at the same time. This may be the future - we can all set up ipads in our dining rooms and convivially drink together...
     
    Jonathan Hesford likes this.
  3. I don't know how wine consuming in Asian market relies on dining or social events, at least I am not aware that Chinese has a culture to open a bottle at home or have a glass with dinner. So if almost a whole nation stop having bigger group lunch or dinner.... Also the situation in Japan and Korea is not looking very positive at the moment.

    Saying that, maybe we will have it in Europe soon. Better not, but who knows.
     
  4. Very good point. Drinking in Asia is a hugely communal thing.

    In HK, we had several visits from international people cancelled, but purely local events not.really impacted for now.
     
  5. I am extremely interested in what the impact on HK wine and Japanese sake business, from the movement last year to this year pandemic... but not sure if it should be in the political forum! :D
    From another thread, there are many good price sauternes in auction but only in HK! Pity my families there are too distanced to hold wine for me.
     
  6. A friend in Italy has had all the wine fairs they were due to show wine at cancelled. She tells me that music events, football matches etc are cancelled and schools are closed, certainly in NE Italy where she is. A big fair at Genova was cancelled with 24 hours notice.

    Interesting to see what happens here. I’m still doing two to three events per week figuring I’m no more likely to get it at a wine tasting than in the supermarket.

    My main worry is whether it will affect our daughter’s plans to come back from Asia for May/June as her transit options from KTM are limited.
     
  7. My parents are in a small town near Genoa at the moment (we were there last week during half term). Apparently the local weekly market is cancelled, and even (!!) condominium meetings are to be cancelled. In terms of shutting down communal life, that's a bit like requiring all the pubs in Dublin to close their doors, or something.
     
  8. And Genoa is not that far down the road from France.
    Yep, the grands jours de bourgogne is only two weeks away, and just one border away from Italy - 1,200 people in one room to taste at the Clos de Vougeot sounds like a good viral soup - I won't be going to that one, but nothing to do with covid-19, rather because it's too many people in a small space - 'scrum' will be a good descriptor - with or without facemasks...
     
  9. The problem is that the situation changed (worsen) so fast. Three days ago I was still saying Japan not doing well, now Italy has surpassed Japan in confirmed cases number. Apparently the virus can spread before symptom and even after checked as negative. It's hard to know which country in Europe would have the next pandamic cohort.
    Wash hands before putting them on your face, after touching anything that other people might have touched. I still don't think air route plays a major role in spreading, so I still doubt how important are masks for healthy individuals.
     
  10. I have heard from trade friends in China that wine sales have slowed down massively thanks to the reasons given above. There is no sign of this changing in the next few months.

    Retailers and wholesalers who are not liquid enough may go under.

    The upstream effects on the supply chain will be felt soon, and there will be potential longer-term repercussions as East Asian buyers are withdrawing from attending western trade fairs.

    I think we will have a better idea of the global state of play come Prowein (mid March), which is the world's largest wine trade fair.
     
  11. Hotel occupancy rate in Singapore tumbles to under 50%, the damage is huge. And I think we are a pretty good indicator of Far East F&B business last few years.
     
    Po-yu Sung and Nayan Gowda like this.
  12. I predict BDX EP 2019 will be either cancelled or significantly scaled down.
     
  13. I fully expect Vinitaly to be cancelled. I've just paid for a non-refundable room. :(
     
  14. Covid-19? Is that a reinvention of the LVMH partner Clos-19?
     
    billnanson and Graham Harvey like this.
  15. I have a sore throat should I be worried?
     
  16. I hadn't considered that. Definitely scaled down, I would say; but not cancelled.

    As an aside (and really not a political one), it will be interesting to see the engagement of British merchants in EP20, as they still have no idea of pricing implications come 2021.
     
  17. Should be / should have been taken into account for EP orders of Burg / Rhone 2018 and of course PYCM 2019s i.e. anything delivered next year although I understand that some merchants (e.g. AB ) have ND contingencies in place
     
  18. I spent last week in Singapore, and it was noticeably quiet. (No problems at all getting a beer AND a seat on top of MBS at 7pm last Friday...) The thing that shocked me most was the flight back. I came through Doha and the loads were around 30%. On the final leg from Doha to Stockholm I was entirely alone in a twelve seat cabin on a service that I have never known previously to be anything but full. An eerie experience, which i assume is being replicated across many airlines. It really hit me how devastating the economic effect could be.

    What I would say about Singapore though is how well set up it is. In fact I would much rather be there than London. My temperature must have been checked six times a day on average - every entry to a hotel or public place. Hand sanitiser everywhere, and most importantly no need to subject yourself to mass transit. Local population taking it in their stride though. At (the excellent) Cure restaurant on Saturday Andrew Walsh said that bookings were up again last week as people realised they just had to get on with life.

    To bring this back to wine, I am preparing, including pulling enough out of storage to soften the pain of self isolation should it come to us all soon...
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  19. The one thing the government must encourage here is the provision of hand sanitizers, though it has taken me two days to find one in London in a public place.
     
  20. Do they actually work?
     
  21. Not as effective as soap and water, but as coronavirus is coated by lipid bilayer, in theory alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used as a substitution when tap and sink are not avaliable.
     
  22. Correct hand washing takes two minutes, which is a remarkably long time.
     
    Charles Muttar and Po-yu Sung like this.
  23. Great report.
    Though masks are usually not required, as the epidemic level is higher, some Asian countries health authorities do recommend to wear mask on a 'closed space and longer time public transport'. You can imagine how unpleasant it makes for a long term flight.
     
  24. And correct hand sanitiser usage takes at least 30 seconds, with a lot of hand rubbing.
    While I am totally convinced that washing hands with soap for only 30 seconds, is still more effective than rubbing hands with hand sanitiser for one minute.

    Edit:
    To encourage everyone washing hands more....
    Study shows that using hand lotion doesn't influence the effectiveness of hand washing or hand sanitiser.
    Don't worry about dry hands.
    Effect of hand lotion on the effectiveness of hygienic hand antisepsis: Implications for practicing hand hygiene. - PubMed - NCBI
     
  25. deleted.
     

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