Online wine retailer Naked Wines has pledged to help winemakers affected by the closure of restaurants, tasting rooms and traditional retail stores during the COVID-19 crisis.
The business said today (24 April) that up to $5 million (R95 million) will be made available to independent winemakers looking to sell their wines via Naked Wines’ US, UK, and Australia operations.
The fund will be deployed to purchase stock that was previously destined for restaurants, tasting rooms and shops, as the temporary closure of such venues continues to impact the drinks industry.
To qualify for funding, organisations or individuals must be an independent wine producer or winemaker, be able to display a proven track record of quality, show evidence of COVID-19 business impact, and have cleared any importer/agent exclusivity arrangements.
Nick Devlin, Naked Wines group CEO, said the pandemic has resulted in the suffering of small winemakers reliant on traditional channels to market.
“We’d like to invite the most talented of them a way out of this; and to our customers, access to unique and delicious wines we haven’t been able to get hold of before,” he remarked.
Eamon FitzGerald global wine director at the retailer, added that it “feels right” to help the industry via this new initiative. The move should, of course, have a positive impact on Naked’s business, too, allowing it to augment its network of producers, and bring more variety to its angel investor-style customer base.
“I’d encourage all independent winemakers looking for either long-term relationships or one-off cash deals to apply,” he noted.
“Naked Wines offers talented winemakers a direct route to market, so you can spend your time making your wines taste delicious, rather than worrying about selling them.”