Wine Bars Find New Ways To Do Business During COVID-19 Lockdown

Shuttered wine bars have found themselves forced to pivot into wine shops and delivery. Here’s how three recently opened spots are faring.

Terra Dunham worked for 14 months on the debut of Book & Bottle, a dream-turned-reality wine bar in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida. But when shelter-in-place orders went into effect just three days after opening, Dunham and team had to close.

“It may have been the first time in history that a construction job finished on time,” says Dunham.

Book & Bottle was completed on March 13, received a Certificate of Occupancy on March 16, and officially opened on March 17. It was the best-case scenario for the owner, until Governor DeSantis’ orders forced the establishment to close on March 20. “The timing couldn’t have been worse, but what could we do but try to improvise and figure something out?”

It’s exactly what she and her team did, pivoting from in-house wine bar operations to a delivery service that offers two shelter-at-home staples: books and wine.

“I never thought I’d have an online store, but now I’m taking orders every which way—Facebook, Instagram, text—and delivering all across the city,” she says. “We’re trying to accommodate people in any way we can, because right now, every single order counts.”