A Covid rebound could spell better times for producers, retailers and consumers in the world’s biggest wine market.

By W. Blake Gray | Posted Thursday, 14-Jan-2021, wine-searcher.com/m/2021/01

The wine industry could be in for a big year in 2021 because ending the pandemic will unleash celebrations like we haven’t seen since the end of World War II, a leading industry analyst said Wednesday.

In his annual State of the Wine Industry report, Silicon Valley Bank Executive Vice President Rob McMillan acknowledged the river of bad news to hit the industry in 2020, but says better times are ahead, at least in the short term.

Consumers move online

There has been much talk about whether or not wine sales were up, down or about the same in 2020. McMillan said they were roughly the same but the data is hard to read because of “channel shifting”; people who once bought wine in restaurants instead stocked up at grocery stores when the pandemic hit, and then later began ordering wine online.

A survey showed that the average winery sold about 2 percent of its wine online in April 2020. By November, that was up to 10 percent. Wine club sales were down 5 percent, and tasting room sales were down 37 percent, but e-commerce sales were up 153 percent.

McMillan believes that shows a paradigm shift that will not shift back after the pandemic ends.