LANCASTER, Calif. – Every single bottle disinfected before it leaves the winery. It’s the new normal at Thief and Barrel tasting room in Lancaster.
“I wipe down all the bottles and I’m spraying my hands before and after,” said co-owner Barbara Moran.
It’s just one of the many changes Moran and fellow co-owner DiMaggio Washington have had to make to keep their winery up and running.
“Being creative, thinking out of the box, having lots of conversations with our regular customers and other customers, watching what other people and places are doing and then of course, having to stay in the parameters of what’s being set. It's really difficult,” said Moran.
Since the pandemic hit, they’ve lost of about 50 percent of their revenue.
Unlike large wine producers who sell in major stores, Thief and Barrel is a boutique winery that depend on sales from its tasting room. People are still allowed to come in and pick up their wine, they just can’t stay to taste the wines and chat about the varietals.
But they can do it online.
Thief and Barrel started hosting virtual happy hours just last week and they’re working on holding wine classes and wine tasting online as well. They’ll fill up six two-ounce bottles for customers who will then take them home and log on to their virtual tasting room.
“We’ll have six different wines that we’ll hand out, with tasting notes,” said Washington.
Wine education is a really big part of Thief and Barrel. Washington is a professor who teaches wine at College of the Canyons, so offering classes is second nature for him. But they’re also showing appreciation by donating wine to medical workers.
On their website, under “buy wine” you can scroll down the wine menu and click on “by a nurse a bottle.”
Moran says people “can contribute $10 or they can contribute up to a hundred bucks or whatever and we take that money and for every $200 we’re donating a case of wine to medical workers.”
Cases of wine usually run just under $300 dollars, so they put in the rest. A program that’s not only helping them sell wine but showing appreciation for people on the front lines of the pandemic.
Thief and Barrel will begin their virtual wine making classes on April 18, 2020.
For more information on that you can call their tasting room at (661) 723-WINE.
They can also ship wine, for more information on shipping and pricing log onto their website.