WILLCOX — After months of tasting room closures, Willcox winery owners are going the extra mile. Literally.
Chad Preston, owner of the Birds and Barrels Vineyard and Winery outside Willcox, has been delivering wine when COVID-19 caused the state to shutdown.
All of Preston’s grapevines are planted by hand, and all the wine is processed by hand as well. Fitting with the rest of his business, Preston hand delivers the wine to the buyer’s location. He said he had to figure out how to sell more wine with the tasting room closed, so wine delivery was the next step.
“There’s no minimum order right now but we encourage multiple bottle orders to offset our delivery costs so we don’t have to charge a delivery fee,” said Preston. “We do what we have to do to support our customers during this unique time but would rather have them come out and experience Arizona wine and the community here locally.”
Preston delivers throughout Graham, Pima, and Maricopa counties. He also makes trips to Prescott and Sedona.
Robert Carlson, who is a winemaker for Carlson Creek Vineyard located near Willcox, is also making wine more accessible.
Instead of hand delivering wine, however, Carlson Creek Vineyard is investing in specialty wine packaging so they can start shipping wine nationwide by the end of June.
Carlson said the winery will use recyclable packaging material and gel-ice packs, which are environmentally safe.
Usually Willcox wineries stop shipping wine in the summer heat because the wine may spoil. However, since the COVID-19 shutdown, the Carlson Creek Vineyard online sales has tripled.
Carlson is hopeful in-person sales will eventually come back.
“It’s just a matter of keeping people engaged as they start transitioning back to restaurants, back to grocery stores, and tasting rooms,” said Carlson.