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Coronavirus could kickstart "radical change in stagnant" wine trade, tech entrepreneur predicts

Published:  01 April, 2020

The coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis could kickstart radical change in the wine trade, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur has predicted.

“Coronavirus is the impetus needed to shift the wine-industry into a new future where it can thrive in a world of increased volatility, demand fluctuation, climate change consciousness, and yet desire for consumers to engage in new experiences,” according to Michael Baum, owner of Burgundy’s Chateau Pommard, which he acquired in 2014.

The future of wine distribution is in a direct-to-consumer retail model, added Baum.

“The wine industry has been stagnant for 100 years, trapped in the same multi-tiered distribution systems which are being exposed through the outbreak of coronavirus and frankly benefit the middlemen much more than the producer or the consumer.”

Chateau Pommard had been movig towards just such a model for several years, Baum noted.

“We have been preparing for nearly two years to embrace a new, more direct to consumer model, driven by advances in internet speeds, access to collaboration tools, and the need for people to travel without creating a significant carbon footprint,” he said.

"With the restrictions on travel now and long into a post-coronavirus future, the advancements we are embracing will be even more critical to us and the wine industry as a whole.”

Baum recently announced plans to double capacity at Chateau Pommard, as well as an acceleration of investment in biodynamic and organic production methods.