Fredericksburg, one of the most tourist-heavy small towns in Texas, has understandably been affected by lack of travel and commerce during COVID-19. One of the area’s biggest industries, wine, has been hit hard as it’s a significant attraction in these parts—more than 50 of the 100-plus Hill Country wineries are in town or the surrounding Gillespie County. Thankfully, wineries are coming up with creative solutions to connect with customers and boost morale.
Signor Vineyards, a family-owned business, has just launched a program called Bottles for the Frontline. Like many vineyards and wineries, Signor has closed its taking room for now, shifting to drive-thru and online sales. But the management and staff wanted to do more, so they’re sending bottles of wine with handwritten notes of appreciation to people working on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic. Local recipients include a surgical nurse, a store manager at H-E-B, and the chief of a volunteer fire department. The staff is also inviting people via their Facebook and Instagram pages to nominate recipients who’d appreciate a bottle of wine and personal words of thanks. “We understand how much our frontline workers are sacrificing and putting at risk for our community,” says Will Coker, general manager at the winery. “We thought this small gesture could help instill a little hope and relaxation in this time.”
Meanwhile, some Fredericksburg wineries are coming together to host a weekly virtual wine tasting on Twitter. Every Tuesday at 7 p.m. oenophiles, winery owners, sommeliers, and winemakers can discuss Texas wine using the #TXwine hashtag. Bingham Family Vineyards, Pedernales Cellars, Wedding Oak Winery, and Slate Mill Wine Collective are among the Fredericksburg wineries that participate. Each week, the confab focuses on a specific varietal, such as rosé, tweeting about what’s in their glass that evening, and other thoughts on Texas wines. On May 12, the chat will focus on sparkling wines, and on May 19, it will look at the best varietals to pair with grilled foods. “We might be self-isolating, but we want to stay in touch with our growing Texas wine community,” says Russ Kane of VintageTexas.com, a Texas wine newsletter. To join in, follow the #TXwine hashtag on Twitter and follow @VintageTexas. To participate from your laptop, you can use a Twitter chat website like tchat.io/rooms/txwine.
“Small-Town Dispatches” is a new series from Texas Highways focused on how COVID-19 is affecting some of our favorite Texas communities, from writers who live there or live close enough to visit often.
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