The Covid lockdown has hit wineries particularly hard, with visits to their tasting rooms banned for months and restaurant sales down.
How are they coping? What strategies are they using?
How can you support these local, grassroots businesses?
There’s never been a better time to drink wine and feel great about it.
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We’re going to be chatting with someone who’s at the heart of this issue in Niagara-on-the-Lake wine country. Andrea Kaiser grew up there admist the winemaking revolution fueled by her Father, the legendary Karl Kaiser, co-founder and winemaker of Inniskillin Wines.
Andrea has created her own illustrious career in wine as the Director of Marketing for Reif Winery and the founder of Drea’s Wine Co., making wines in memory of her father, who affectionately called her ‘Drea’. She’s also the Chair of the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries. Welcome Andrea!
What’s your earliest wine memory?
Was wine part of the dinner table growing up?
What do you remember most about your father, Karl Kaiser?
What’s the wisest advice he gave you about wine and/or life?
Let’s jump forward now to the 2020 harvest: how is that going?
What advice would you give to those who want to visit your wineries?
Tell us about the wineries: how many, where are you located etc?
What makes Niagara-on-the-Lake unique from other sub-appellations in Niagara?
How does this influence the wine we drink?
What is one thing that would surprise us about Niagara-on-the-Lake?
What’s the thing most people misunderstand about Niagara-on-the-Lake?
Share a story about an interesting customer or experience in your tasting room this new Covid world.
What have been the biggest challenges this year, apart from Covid? ie weather, pests, etc
How has Covid affected the wineries?
Can you tell a story that makes the impact more specific than just sales are down because our tasting rooms were closed and now we don’t have as much traffic?
Can you also share some stats on this year versus last year for sales, production, visitors etc? You can base these on the region or Reif specifically if that’s what you have.
How important are restaurant clients to your wineries? Please share a specific story that shows how important they are.
How have online sales changed for you? Please share a story say about answering calls from 6 am to midnight or something, along with stats.
How have your wineries pivoted in response to Covid? What are you doing differently?
What has worked well?
What is your outlook for 2021?
What new things will you do?
Please give our viewers one wine tip that they can try this week to increase their wine savvy. This can be something simple, such as order two wines by the glass in a restaurant at the same time and try them side by side. Any little ninja trick to help them improve their wine knowledge or tasting/pairing skills.
As we wrap up our conversation, what haven’t we covered that you’d like to share now?
How can people best get in touch with you or find you online?
Andrea Kaiser grew up in Niagara-on-the-Lake amidst a transformation ignited by her father’s vision in winemaking. Karl J. Kaiser was none other than co-founder and winemaker of Inniskillin Wines, that revolutionized an industry. He is considered by many to be the pioneer of modern winemaking in Canada. His pursuit in creating exceptional wine revolutionized local viticulture and grape growing sparking a transformation in winemaking.
As the daughter of Karl, she had the unique opportunity to see first-hand the birth of an industry but also an iconic Canadian brand. His influence on her was also great. She was inspired by his vision and his absolute commitment to excellence in winemaking. Her father also understood the value of authenticity and taught her that this above all else, it is the foundation of all things exceptional.
While her father’s ultimate career path was born of his passion, like Andrea’s own, it began as a winding road that was cemented by serendipity along the way. Her father first intended to become a priest, was then a teacher and later found his true calling
when he by accident, became a winemaker. Andrea’s career began as a restauranteur and along the way she has been a sommelier, politician, writer, teacher, marketer and now winemaker. She recently launched Drea’s Wine Co., making wines in memory of her father, who affectionately called her ‘Drea’.
Andrea’s deep passion for local food and wine has been the common thread in her career path. Her incredible journey has provided her with an insight and a depth of understanding not only of her community and country but a global industry. You could say she was born into a life of food and wine and now shares this passion with others.
General Manager – The Anchorage Motel Bar and Grill – 10 years
Instructor – Niagara College – Wine Business Management and Marketing – 10 years Contributor – Quench.ca – 4 years
Municipal Councillor – Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake – 11 years
Federal Liberal Candidate – 2019 election
Director of Marketing – Reif Estate Winery – 18 years
Ontario Craft Winery Association – Board Member – 5 years
Proprietor – Drea’s Wine Co. – 2 years