Editor: The covid-19 pandemic is having a disastrous effect on the economy; in particular small businesses.
Every season, family farms are at risk of a crop failure that could have devastating effects on the business. Calculating crop yields and depending on grapes that can vary season to season accounts for plenty of stress for those of us in this industry. This year, the added stress of this pandemic is having a particularly disastrous effect on small family farm wineries.
The revenue for these wineries is generated by people coming in for tastings, enjoying time with family and friends, then purchasing some wine to take home. With the understandable guidelines of “stay at home” orders and social distancing, many locally owned small businesses, restaurants, bars, breweries, and wineries have moved to a curb-side pick-up or to go options. While this is helpful, much of what we grow, make, and sell is still on our shelves.
While many others will be helped by the government bailout bills, these bills actually have minimal impact on agriculturally businesses; family wineries are particularly impacted. I’ve been in the business for over 20 years and have three wineries one in Loudoun one in Clarke and wondering Frederick County.
These realities leave us and our employees in a desperate situation. As primarily family-run operations, we do not pay wages, further impacting our business and personal lives. Our income, and those of our employees, results from the success or failure of the business.
Unlike the West Coast, wineries in Virginia wineries do not have as robust a distribution network, further impacting our ability to put our products in front of customers. While you may not see Virginia wine on your next visit to the grocery store, I assure you we are out here still producing quality products for you. Understanding that you have a choice when it comes to wine, I’m asking you to consider Virginia wine first.
Most of the Virginia wineries in our area have made curb or delivery service available to make sure we can still provide you with the products you want. In order to save the small Virginia family farms, many of them wineries, please choose Virginia wines first. Please ask your Virginia ABC store in your area to stock more Virginia wines. How we work, how we communicate, and how we recreate will all be affected. What will remain, though, is the feeling of love and joy when you gather with friends on the patio of your favorite Virginia winery or brewery and enjoy a glass together.
If we don’t love Virginia wineries now by purchasing Virginia wine, we may lose them forever.
James Charles Bogaty, Owner
Bogati Winery, Round Hill