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Wineries on Kamloops Wine Trail enjoying record-breaking sales

FILE PHOTO - Harper's Trail wines
FILE PHOTO - Harper's Trail wines
Image Credit: Instagram

Wineries along the Kamloops Wine Trail are seeing sales records broken despite a global pandemic.

Melanie Bibeau, assistant manager with Harper’s Trail, said while 2019 wasn’t a record, 2020 has been a “crazy” record-breaking sales year despite COVID-19 and attributes it to more residents staying, and shopping local, in B.C.

International travellers don’t typically purchase a large quantity of wine since they can’t take it with them, she said.

“So they’ll come, they’ll taste, they might buy a bottle but that’s it. But because we’re having more people come from Kamloops and in B.C., people are buying higher quantities and doing a lot more online sales. Liquor stores were doing way more constant orders to as well,” Bibeau said.

READ MORE: Liquor store sales in B.C. return to normal after initial pandemic bulk-buying frenzy

In 2019, the Kamloops Wine Trail — which includes Monte Creek Ranch Winery, Harper's Trail Winery and Privato Vineyard and Winery — had a positive year in terms of market shares and individual sales, and 2020 have seen record-breaking sales overall on the Kamloops Wine Trail, wine trail executive director Trish Morellia said.

“We really have had a positive, good summer and I know generally speaking the wineries were full, reservations were full, all the events were sold out, albeit at half capacity but generally speaking sales numbers looked extremely well particularly in July and August,” Morellia said.

The wineries were able to pivot their business models and some changes will continue into the future, past the pandemic, she said.

“Things like booking reservations for tastings and outdoor tastings, doing flight programs that were established because of COVID. They ended up being really well-received experiences that will carry forward,” Morellia said.

Retailer partners and residents have been supportive of buying local.

"People tended to drink more during COVID,” she said, adding that it wasn’t just impacting wine, liquor stores were reporting record sales as well.

READ MORE: Record sales reported in 2019 for B.C. wineries

In some cases, sales at private liquor stores in B.C. were up 20, 30 or even 40 per cent year over year back in March, April and May.

“People are staying home, they’re cooking more and entertaining themselves more and so that often involves, I guess alcohol,” Morellia said.

From January until August, sales for wineries on the Kamloops Wine Trail were up by 11 per cent, with a 66 per cent increase from 2019 in July and August.

“2019 was extremely positive and that’s why everyone freaked out with COVID-19 hit… but luckily everyone was able to get through. It’s onward and upward,” she said.

The province said B.C. wineries had a record-breaking 2019, with sales up $700 million to a record $10.5 billion.

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