THE HQ REPORT
There is no need to harp on what a year 2020 was. What it means to experience running a small business through a pandemic, especially one that sells wines only to restaurants, hotels, airports, theaters, sports venues, and the like…we are all more than ready to move on to 2021!
If there was one year when we came up with a whole new vocabulary for how to live it was 2020 – WFH (Working From Home), “Virtual Happy Hour”, “Coronapocalypse”, the “Zoom Shirt” and “Quarantini” (come on, who has not had one of those yet?) Those are just a few of the multiple descriptors we had to “unpack” during this past year. But you already know all of that.
So, instead, I want to focus this small article on what is making everyone in our world happy and productive in the “new normal”, and how The Mark Wine Group is trying our very best to bring that to market.
What has been working for us in 2020? No surprise, it has been you receiving our wines, providing some warmth and distraction, and supported by our digital activations!
The first thing we noticed was the tremendous reception to the Let’s Stay Connected program which started in April and through popular demand, lasted through September. It was so popular that we morphed the program into something new called The BUZZ!, which is now run by my better half Lisa, and boasts more than 80 folks who signed up to tune into our product updates through monthly curated shipments from our network of partners. Great job to Lisa for taking this to the next level, and thank you to all who participate and for the overwhelming feedback on the program, you have spoken about how much it resonates and we appreciate all the positive feedback.
The next thing we have noticed, is that we have QUADRUPLED attendance in The Tasting Room, our online tasting events (which by the way, we have been doing since 2015)! The group tasting by video conference format was already familiar to you, and I guess once the lockdowns started, this became “normal” versus just a really cool idea prior to the pandemic. Now we are all pros, so that is helping us elevate our attendance and put on some really good shows with our partners – this year since just April we have held online events with our partners from K Vintners, Freixenet-Mionetto, Charles Woodson’s Intercept Wines, SakéOne, Fess Parker, King Estate, Roots Run Deep and Hess Family Wine Estates. Participation and feedback have been tremendous to say the least. Stay tuned for an announcement for an upcoming tasting with the Bogle family launching the new Twenty Acres brand and Juggernaut wines in February.
And now to explain our newest, coolest program – we call Quick Sips. While the Tasting Room harnesses the portfolio of a producer and packaged in a theme and is longer, Quick Sips is spontaneous, quicker and more casual takes much less planning and we can do many more of them together. We take 15 minutes and taste one single wine with one of our winemakers or winery notables (one-on-one). No PowerPoints or presentations allowed – just meeting and sipping. A Quick Sip is done virtually in the cloud – think of us as the wine industry’s matchmaker and this is like wine speed dating. Our goal is to bridge the gap we have today in personal contact due to the pandemic, with the goal of exposing you to more wines – brought to you by those who make them. We really look forward to engaging with you on this in the months to come.
So that is how we have “pivoted” in 2020. We are ready to pivot again as things come back again in 2021. We are thankful and grateful for each and every piece of support, partnership and friendship received over the years, none more than this year, so let me say Happy New Year & Cheers! To our next chapter, we know we still have a little way to go – but let it begin sooner rather than later!