Sonoma Wine Tasting Prices Surge Post Lockdown
Since the California stay-at-home lockdown order was lifted, the average price of wine tasting in Sonoma County rose 44% over average prices before the lockdown, according to the 2022 Sonoma Wine Tasting Report.
The average price of an entry-level Sonoma wine tasting was $25.75 before the lockdown on March 19, 2020. But since the lockdown was lifted on June 15, 2021, the average price of an entry-level wine tasting in Sonoma County has risen to $37.
Wine tasting prices were up most in Healdsburg (+74%), followed by Santa Rosa (+70%), the City of Sonoma (+33%), Glen Ellen (+14%) and Sebastopol (+20%). Geyserville prices are down (-12%). Average (mean) pricing segmented by each market, as well as individual Sonoma wine tasting room profiles, are in the full report.
Before the lockdown, the average price of a wine tasting in Sonoma County ranged from $5 to $125 with the majority of wineries (44%) charging $15 to $20. Since the lockdown ended, the average price of a wine tasting in Sonoma County now ranges from $5 to $175, with the majority of wineries (32%) charging $25 to $30.
85% of Sonoma Wineries Reservation Only
To adhere to social distancing mandates and manage staffing requirements against visitor demand, the overwhelming majority of Sonoma wine tasting rooms are now reservation only.
The largest share of Sonoma County wine tasting rooms that still accommodate walk-ins post lockdown are in Glen Ellen, with 7 out of 17 (44%) of tasting rooms welcoming guests without reservations, and in the City of Sonoma, with 11 out of 37 (30%) accepting walk-ins.
Only 1 of the 20 Geyserville wine tasting rooms (5%) we surveyed currently accept walk-ins and only 11 of the 96 Healdsburg wine tasting rooms (11%) sampled accept guests without reservations. And only 6 out of the 53 wine tasting rooms in Sebastopol (11%) take walk-ins. Only 4 of the 24 wine tasting rooms in Santa Rosa (17%) accommodate guests without reservations. More statistics on which Sonoma wine tasting rooms are reservation only is available in the full report.
Sonoma Wine Tasting Prices Post Lockdown
- Average Sonoma wine tasting room price was $25.75 before the lockdown
- 44% of Sonoma wine tasting rooms charged $15-20 before the lockdown
Sonoma Wine Tasting Prices Pre Lockdown
- Average Sonoma wine tasting room price is $37 after the lockdown
- 32% of Sonoma wine tasting rooms are charging $25-30 after the lockdown
To preserve public health and offset the risk of overloading hospitals as a result of the pandemic, on March 19, 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed a stay-at-home order that lasted 453 days and came to be known as the “lockdown.” During that period, California travel and tourism spending dropped 53% from $144.8B in 2019 to $68.4B in 2020, according to Visit California, a nonprofit that promotes Golden State tourism. The lockdown mandate was lifted on June 15, 2021.
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For small Sonoma wineries – many of which have no retail distribution and rely on their wine tasting rooms to acquire wine club members – the lockdown was an existential crisis. To stay afloat, many Sonoma wineries were forced to pivot to ecommerce and Zoom enabled virtual wine tastings overnight.
Inflation in the wine business has a durability that is unique to the hospitality sector. Unlike a restaurant, which can adjust prices in real time, winemaking costs are front loaded years in advance. Because of the aging process, wines made this year won’t be sold for years in the future. So regardless of what happens with prices in the future, current labor and transportation costs will be carried forward into cost of goods sold.
The full study includes market profiles for 6 Sonoma cities, 3 Sonoma wineries and the research methodology.
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