There is no denying that the pandemic has radically changed our habits.
This is evident in – hitherto unseen – daily behaviours such as keeping interpersonal distance or wearing masks, but also in more innovative ones, such as, for instance, aperitifs via Skype, or live online birthday parties.
Likewise, our eating habits have also undergone a revolution, especially during the strictest lockdown periods. Indeed, many have admitted to escaping – albeit momentarily – restrictions or the concerns of everyday life via quality eating and drinking. Of course, such escape has been favoured by the pervasive presence of the internet in our lives.
As expected, the market has quickly endeavoured to meet these needs by making online purchases, home deliveries, returns or media consultations ever easier.
This abrupt change of course also hit the wine sector, with a dramatic demand drop at the beginning of 2020 on the wake of restaurant or wine businesses’ closures, which had to tackle the online transition to survive.
Estimates indicate that Italian online purchases have increased by about 10% in the 2018-2020 period.
The Internet has effectively solved a problem of availability in a particularly complicated historical moment. At this point, it’s blatantly obvious that online buying guarantees savings and considerable convenience.
Personally, however, following an initial “honeymoon” phase, I began to perceive detachment and bewilderment towards this enormous and intangible reality: too many labels, too many conflicting opinions, too much sterile information and, definitely, excessive online suggestions.
Thus, I wondered: “What am I giving up in exchange for these savings?”
First of all, I give up the human aspect, which I enjoy when visiting my regular store, even just for a chat about the weekly news.
Another renunciation – a major one in my view – is the shopkeeper’s professionalism and preparation: specialised wine shops increasingly staff people who constantly research and update themselves, with the aim of helping us, the eternally undecided clientele. In turn, this means that in-store wine purchases also convey awareness and knowledge to customers.
Furthermore, wine bars and wineries are places of meeting and conversation, where you can challenge your own wine-related beliefs, make new discoveries, and delve deeper into the magical world of wine.
It is far from my intent to discredit everything that online commerce represents; rather, I seek to open other possibilities to wine buyers.
On every online purchase, therefore, we should ask ourselves: “are we sure that there are real savings here or is this only a veiled renunciation on my part?”.
In my humble opinion, wine is first and foremost an experience, which starts even before the ritual of tasting and comes with an indissociable context.
Choosing to drink a wine while giving up that context means abandoning the possibility of getting excited and letting yourself be excited.
Tenuta Liliana Staff