This is my annual year in review post. But wow. What can I say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said?
Yes, 2020 was the worst year in my lifetime for a lot of people and I still am amazed how it has affected the entire world. During COVID-19, the Texas wine industry had to change with wineries rebuilding their business plans to continue to stay in business. At the beginning of the pandemic, wineries started to already alter how they did business. As the weeks went by, more changes were made and then Texas Governor Abbott relaxed some of the winery restrictions. But as things became worse, it was made even tougher when Governor Abbott declared wineries were like bars and were ordered to be closed. TABC came through later with the ability to meet the less than 51% of total sales from alcoholic beverage sales and reopen partially.
It definitely has been a challenging year for the Texas wine industry, but of course people are very resourceful. Virtual tastings became very popular during the pandemic as wineries twisted and turned to allow more sales of wine. Personally, I probably purchased as much wine during all the virtual tastings then I would have done if I visited the wineries! Tastings at wineries were often done with small vials holding each tasting at once instead of being poured directly from the bottle for each course of the tasting. Many more changes were done that helped wineries survive.
2020 was also difficult for Texas Wine Lover. The majority of the income received to help with the expenses of operating the website come from direct ads on the website. Because of the state of flux with the Texas wine industry, most advertisers on the website decided not to renew their ads. This required a lot of thought on my part. Then some advertisers decided to renew their ads and new advertisers came on board. I appreciate those businesses! Just like the Texas wine industry required a lot of changes, the impact of the pandemic will require some changes to Texas Wine Lover too. 2021 will continue to show those changes.
Here are some highlights of 2020 for Texas Wine Lover:
- We had 11 writers who wrote at least one blog post in 2020. This gives us writers in the Texas High Plains, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Fredericksburg, Houston, and more covering the entire state.
- In 2019, we wrote 180 posts but in 2020, only 124 posts have been written so far. That is kind of expected when you look at what the pandemic did to Texas wineries at the beginning.
- We continued the monthly winemaker profile that Texas Hill Country Wineries first wanted Texas Wine Lover to help them with, and we continued to feature other winemakers in Texas. January 2021 will be seven years of us doing the winemaker profile! If you know a winemaker who hasn’t participated yet, please have them get in touch with me.
- Texas Wine Lover continues to be the only website to bring you all the major wine competition results with Texas wineries being filtered out from the results. There were considerable changes in wine competitions during the pandemic with some cancelling completely. People learned how to deal with the pandemic and some wine competitions continued.
- Wine festivals also were hurt greatly during the pandemic. Our list of Texas wine festivals under the Fun Stuff menu on the website was a challenge trying to keep up with the multiple changes wine festivals made to either hold the festival or postpone until next year. I will be attempting to create the 2021 wine festival list soon, so if you are part of a wine festival that had to make changes, I would appreciate if you could contact me to update me with your latest plans to make it easier to create the list.
- Social media numbers for Texas Wine Lover are currently as follows as I write this: 10,745 Facebook Likes (all organic [that means we did not pay for any Likes unlike some other Facebook pages]) for our Facebook page, 3,165 members of the very active Facebook group, 4,846 Twitter followers, and 3,554 followers on Instagram. Our email subscriber list has continually grown. Have you subscribed to our mailing list yet?
One cool feature we have on the website that some people may not be aware of is every winery has its own page. Each one of those pages contain contact information about the winery including links to every post we have written about that winery. Want to know about the winery? That’s the best way! The best Texas Wineries Map of open Texas wineries was improved this year with clustering to make it easier to zoom in on wineries in the area by simply clicking on the number of wineries in that location. In addition to the map, we have a Texas Wineries List to make it easy for searching for a winery. We have not forgotten the wine growers as each vineyard we have listed on the website also has their individual vineyard page too. At the moment, we have Texas with 6,397 acres of vineyards!
It has been a difficult year for everyone facing a new way of life. Vaccines have started being given in the U.S., so things are starting to look up for the pandemic. That should also prove a “normal” return to the Texas wine industry and Texas Wine Lover. Cheers to 2021!