What do you mean, not an essential service?!
Constant Reader A. (hey doll, miss your face!) writes in with an appalling question: Her nearest wine store has closed down, and she wanted to know how to buy wine and support her local economy.
First of all: ANIMALS.
Secondly, how local do you mean? I am woefully undereducated as to whether there are any winemakers in A’s Brooklyn neighborhood. There are artisanal butchers out that way, so I'm sure there's someone making wine in a tank in their basement. But seriously, there are tons of Seattle and Portland winemakers who buy the juice and make the wine without owning acres of land. So it makes total sense to me that there would be Brooklyn winemakers. If you know of any, please share with me and I’ll share here!
In general, if you want to support smaller winemakers, it's best to go on their own websites. There's a long and byzantine history to wine distribution that I won’t go into here. But basically wines from Wine.com are from places that make tens of thousands of cases, if not more, and can afford to get placed in sites like those. Some of the wine clubs have smaller winemakers supplying them exclusively, so you can only buy those bottles you like through the club.
The Cork Report has put together a list of East Coast U.S. Wineries with shipping. I’m happy to point out that all my pals from the NJ Winemakers Co-op are on the list. The New York section includes a lot from the Finger Lakes, whom I can personally recommend wholeheartedly, including Anthony Road, Dr. Frank, Heart & Hands (specializing in pinot noirs), Hector Wine Co, and Sheldrake Point. I've also gotten emails from Keuka Lake and Boundary Breaks (amazing rieslings!) touting their free shipping.
Food52.com also has a list of how to shop online for wines, with more wineries from California. I haven’t tried their idea about buying wines from restaurants, but it’s a pretty brilliant idea. If you try it, let me know!
If your local shop is still open, try to patronize them too. Most wine stores aren’t doing tastings, but you can still phone in your order or use their website. I ordered a mixed case from Princeton Corkscrew yesterday around 3pm ET, and it was delivered at no extra cost by about 6:30pm the same day!
For Open That Local Wine night last Saturday, I went with my wine club buddies at William Heritage and their 2015 chambourcin.
Gorgeous dark garnet color, earthy on the nose and savory black cherry on the palate. It was a real treat.
So please drink responsibly while we’re all at home, but if you're going to order wine, help out your local winemakers and wine shops where you can. If you find a new winery or enjoy an old favorite, let me know!