As small businesses across California figure out how best to serve customers in the COVID-19 era, one old-fashioned strategy is proving to be a smart one: strength in numbers.
From wine country to the Inland Empire and beyond, local businesses are creating partnerships that make it easier for them to offer their wares—such as surfing gear, craft beer, and eventually socially distant touring experiences. For customers it’s a win-win: Supporting one local business that you like can mean supporting other likeminded entities. Here are seven enticing collaborations that offer new ways to shop and explore your favorite California destinations.
Press Wine Thru, St. Helena
With wineries closed to guests due to the pandemic, a group of Napa Valley winemakers realized they had all sorts of new releases to sell but limited ability to put these bottles into oenophiles’ hands. Enter the folks at Press, a popular restaurant that just happens to have the largest collection of Napa Valley wines in the world. Press created a “Wine Thru” store that showcases a different winery each week, ensuring that the artisans at Wingspan, Paper Planes, Massican, and other wineries receive some distribution help while Press customers get access to some of the area’s finest new offerings. “We believe wines should be released when they are ready,” says owner Samantha Rudd, “even as the world faces this challenging point in time.”
Sip Now, Stay Later at MacArthur Place, Sonoma
Buy a case of wine from one of nine Sonoma County wineries and you’ll score a free night at farmhouse-style inn MacArthur Place, which has its own spa and acclaimed restaurant. Choose from, say, the Sauvignon Blancs and field-blended reds of Beltane Ranch, the Pinot Noirs of Blue Farm Wines, and Chardonnays of Hanzell.
Shop Petaluma’s Virtual Downtown
The Sonoma County town of Petaluma has created a one-stop shopping site for dozens of local restaurants, taprooms, art galleries, and boutiques, organized by street or category. Click on a street name, for instance, and scroll down to “window shop” (and click to start orders) at participating businesses such as Copperfield’s Book Store or Brewsters Beer Garden.
San Francisco Sightseeing Tours
When it’s time for Bay Area locals or other visitors to go on day trips, seven family-owned San Francisco tour companies are ready. They’ve joined forces and have established a shared safety protocol to offer guests “touch-free” private tours for 2–8 people. Choose from tour options such as the automated cars of Go Cars, cycling rentals from Blazing Saddles, boat tours of Bay Voyager, and the aerial tours on Seaplane Adventures. Other participants include culinary tour operator Avital Tours, SF Electric Tour Co, and Lucky Tuk Tuk.
Buy Santa Cruz County gift cards
Want to buy a gift card for a future visit to Santa Cruz? The beach town has created a virtual “business card container” with links for gift cards, including classic spots such as O’Neill Surf Shop and Daily Grind Coffee & Bottle Shop.
PAVE Wineries, San Luis Obispo County
San Luis Obispo tech company Tastry and Napa Valley–based ecommerce site BottleTribe have invited local artisan wineries to offer their wines on one platform for one-stop access, with the added perk of using Tastry’s artificial intelligence technology that suggests wines for consumers based on their preferences. “PAVE” stands for “Protecting Artisan Vintners Through eCommerce,” and so far includes Central Coast wineries such as Tablas Creek Vineyard and Tolosa.
Akash Winery & Vineyard Kits, Temecula
Buy a bottle of wine from this Inland Empire winery and you can bundle it into a kit that includes other Temecula Valley–based necessities, such as a paint kit, a virtual yoga class, or a charcuterie board from local favorite Grazing Theory. Check Akash’s Facebook page for the latest duos.