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Paving the way back to tasting

Published:  22 September, 2020

While safety is still high on the list of priorities, a new survey has suggested that consumers are willing to amend behaviours quite significantly away from the old norm in order to get back to tasting wine in a physical setting. This took place just before the government announced a new ban on gatherings of over six people, enforceable by law from Monday, 14 September, and ahead of the 22 September announcement that pubs and restaurants must close doors by 10pm, with working from home encouraged once again.

However, we are still publishing the survey (below), from Oxford Wine Company (OWC), as it goes some way to gauge the mood of consumers with regard to wine tasting events at a particular time during the ongoing ebb and flow of pandemic-related restrictions

Responses showed cautious optimism for the return of ticketed tastings, with consumers bringing their own spittoons – or going without – and being willing to pay more for hygiene provisions. Half said they would be ‘very confident' sampling in the shop, with only nine (out of a total of 109 surveyed) stating that Covid-19 had had a lasting impact on confidence in safeguarding.

The majority of respondents surveyed were customers and not members of the wine trade.

Part of OWC's reason for organising the survey was to find out how its customers would respond to a ticketed event this year.

Emily Silva, head of retail and marketing, said running a tasting event in 2020 would require “a significant investment from us - we would need chairs, tables, potentially a dishwasher, and all the space to accommodate this".

The majority of respondents said they would potentially be happy to pay an increased ticket fee, however, to help make a tasting a reality.

When such events will now be able to take place, with infections once again rising and wreaking havoc on planning and consumer confidence, the survey does at least show some encouraging signs that many consumers are willing to attend IF safety protocols are in place and they have confidence in the operator to follow best practice with regard to protecting health.

Overall, the survey highlights the importance of taking sensible precautions and effectively communicating these to customers.