Buying Wine in the Current Situation

We write this post with heavy hearts. The community we work with, so many of whom are our friends, people with businesses they have made their lives, everyone is shattered and shellshocked trying to understand what has happened in the last two weeks and its implications.

It’s tempting to lash out – there is much blame to lay – but that is not helpful just now. That will have to wait and then, some time in the future, perhaps from this colossal disaster we may have a chance to rebuild with a better society.

Here’s hoping because if there isn’t a re-balancing – more fairness, more education, more kindness, less spin, more social support systems, a willingness not to deny science and much more – then things will go back to ‘business as usual’ and we will be no more ready the next time this happens.

We are trying to navigate our way through this crisis as best we can. We are almost socially isolated, keeping a respectable distance when we go outside, no hugs or handshakes (despite the fact we all need hugs at the moment!), and avoiding unnecessary social contact. We have reactivated old skills, including how to make coffee, and, who knows, there might eventually be some time for reading and, if things get really desperate, dusting off jigsaw puzzles.

In the meantime we are still selling wine, albeit with some limitations. There are three ways to order our wine at the moment, which we have described in more detail below:

•  Direct from us, with one shipping day a week (see summary below). We have added a number of extra wines to our website which had been allocated to restaurants. This option may not exist for much longer though.

•  With a request for us to hold the wine for you until the crisis has passed (not useful if you’re looking for quarantine wines but fine if you are buying some of our special new wines, which we have just been released more widely, with the intent to cellar them).

•  From a shop offering online delivery, or which is close to you and still open, which may stock it (see a shortlist below).

Shipping directly to you from us

Out of respect for the instructions to stay at home and restrict movement if possible, we have decided to only ship wine one day a week, on Mondays. It will limit our interactions as far as possible without us shutting down altogether, although that may be necessary, either temporarily as a result of a need to self-isolate because of exposure or as a result of a national shutdown of all non-essential movement (yes we know wine is essential but in the event of a catastrophe it may be hard to convince the authorities of that, especially if the decision-maker has never drunk natural wine). That may well happen soon if too many people continue to flout the current directives regarding social distancing.

We are only using one method of shipping – Fastway – because we feel better able to manage the risk that way. For us, it involves very limited interactions and we are well set up and quite isolated in our warehouse to be able to work with strict hygiene rules. We will also not be asking couriers to receive a signature to minimise the risk to you and to the person making the delivery.

We have publicly released a number of wines which we normally allocate in advance and so are not normally available via our website. These are wines which any of our customers can buy, but for which we normally need an advance request so that we can allocate them up front.

From the Jura, there are a number of wines from Domaine Bornard, Domaine des Cavarodes, Bruyère / Houillon, l’Octavin, Greiner, Eric Thill, and Domaine de la Loue and we also have some de Moor wines (no de Moor Chablis yet – that will come later in the year – but Aligoté, Chitry, and some Chablis from their négoce label Le Vendangeur Masqué. The numbers are very limited but if you are interested take a look.

Pre-purchase and store your wine with us

We often store wine for customers who accumulate an order over time, adding single bottles of new arrivals so they don’t miss out but spreading out the purchase period. We have customers who work overseas who buy during the year and then take their order when they return home for a holiday and even overseas customers who accumulate orders and then take them when they visit.

Provided the wines you want aren’t for your quarantine stockpile we can hold an order for you until there is light at the end of the tunnel.

We are setting up a slightly more sophisticated arrangement on our next visit to our warehouse so that in the event of a personal catastrophe, the ownership and contact details for any pre-purchased wines are clearly identified for whoever has to clean up what we leave behind!

Hopefully that is an excessive precaution but we are a two person operation and it’s at moments like this you realise the importance of some sort of continuity plan (it’s usually only the sort of thing we might think about if we are sitting on a plane during excessive turbulence, at least now we have got time to do something).

Buy from a local shop or online wine delivery service

With bottle shops still open, it is a good opportunity to support the small independent bottle shops which you probably already frequent regularly. It’s not going to be the same environment obviously – no tastings, no handshakes, no kisses – but there will still be plenty of passion and energy, and the possibility perhaps of a moment that feels normal.

If you do visit any shop, for wine or anything else, please take care to keep your distance from other customers and the staff. If we don’t all do that then we are more likely to see a complete shutdown. All shops are preferring contactless payments at the moment and we would encourage that too.

We have published a list below of the wineshops where we have sold wines from our recent shipment. These include many of the wines which were only sold on allocation. If you are looking for a specific wine let us know and we’ll tell you where we sent it.  Some of these are bricks and mortar shops, some are online only and some are a combination of both. Most offer some sort of delivery if you are staying at home.

And with all restaurants and cafés closed as of Monday, we ask you, if you can, to particularly support the local restaurants and cafés in your community who are offering take away options as a way of keeping their businesses on life support.

The restaurants we work with are filled with exceptional people, they cook with produce from local organic growers, who are also suffering with their market disappearing overnight just at a time of peak autumn harvests.  Many are offering a delivery service so if you are self-isolating they are a perfect source of healthy, delicious food. We’ll try to feature as many as we can on our @foodtourist Instagram account.

Remember these are mostly just a list of shops that have received wines from the recent shipment. Contact us if you would like information about availability in other locations.

Locations where you may be able to buy some of our wines

There are no contact details here – a quick google should find them but if you need help let us know. And apologies if we have missed someone, especially restaurants in the middle of reinventing themselves as wine shops!

HOBART

Lucinda and Tom McHugo’s are two of our biggest customers in Hobart and are well-known for their hoarding. They have opened up their cellars so there are some amazing options. Willing Bros has a smaller selection, nothing from the recent list, but often buried treasures. These three venues are all reinventing their businesses and would be grateful for any support. The Hobart arm of Blackhearts and Sparrows Bottleshop also has some of our wines.

MELBOURNE

Act of Wine (two shops), Blackhearts and Sparrows (several shops), Cult of the Vine, Mr West, Punchin Bottles, and Samuel Pepys. And France Soir has an online wine shop.

DAYLESFORD

Wine and the Country

SYDNEY

Five Way Cellars, George Hotel, P&V Merchants, and Winona. Moreish Wines, not wasted, and DRNKS are online wine shops.

BYRON BAY

Spare a special thought for Luna Wine Store, which only opened this month! They have some of our wines.

PERTH and FREMANTLE

Wines of While has a large good back catalogue of our wines and there is a huge order in transit so get in early if you want to pick the best. Wise Child and Besk.