Episode 22: Rob Talks Wine

 

UnWineding’s editorial advisor Amy Tardif likes to joke that the podcast’s dirty little secret is that it’s not really about wine. Indeed, many of UnWineding’s stories transcend the wine industry, reflecting the struggles of so many people trying to get through the COVID-19 pandemic and everything else that’s been going on these past four and a half months.

This week, we take a step back and talk about wine. I asked the UnWineding trio about their journeys in the wine industry, and this episode is the first of those occasional conversations, with Rob Chase of Digress Wine in Orlando’s College Park Neighborhood.

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Rob Chase, owner of Digress Wine in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood

 

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Thanks to Orlando composer Julian Bond for providing original music for UnWineding, Amy Tardif for editorial guidance, and WMFE for distribution and promotional assistance.

Swirlery Wine Bar Reopens Friday with New Food License

Swirlery Wine Bar in Orlando’s SoDo District will reopen for service on Friday, August 14, after receiving a permanent food license from the state of Florida.

Like all Florida bars, coronavirus restrictions have prevented Swirlery from serving drinks for almost five months, with the exception of a brief reopening in early June. The state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation reinstated the alcohol service ban after just two weeks, when Florida saw huge spikes in new COVID-19 cases, with many outbreaks tied to bars that failed to follow social distancing rules.

Swirlery has relied on retail wine sales to stay afloat so far, but co-owner Melissa McAvoy says that was never a long term solution, since about 80% of her business comes from onsite consumption.

“I just don’t know how long we’re gonna go on this rollercoaster of ‘let’s open and close bars,’” she told the UnWineding podcast in mid-July. “This is like survival now.”

Continue reading “Swirlery Wine Bar Reopens Friday with New Food License”

Episode 21: Endless Summer

 

As Florida’s slow summer season drags on, bar owners are still playing a waiting game, while state and local governments consider when it might be safe for them to serve drinks again. The state’s out of work bartenders, servers, and sommeliers face a financial cliff, now that the federal unemployment benefit has expired and the status of a presidential executive order reinstating it is unclear. 

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Thanks to Orlando composer Julian Bond for providing original music for UnWineding, Amy Tardif for editorial guidance, and WMFE for distribution and promotional assistance.

Share your input on the UnWineding Podcast

Will you take five minutes and provide your feedback on the UnWineding podcast through a short anonymous survey? Here’s why I need your help.

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Over four months ago, UnWineding began following three professionals in Orlando’s wine and beverage industry as they started to navigate the economic and personal upheaval brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Melissa McAvoy of SoDo’s Swirlery Wine Bar, Rob Chase of Digress Wine in College Park, and local bartender/sommelier/server Christina Peebles have shared their experiences week after week, helping listeners understand the realities behind the headlines and the numbers.

When I launched the podcast in March, I was driven by an urgency to capture history as it was unfolding before our eyes, and there were many things I could not have imagined back then. I didn’t imagine the podcast would still be in production in August, much less that bars would still be unable to serve (remember how the heat and humidity were going to kill the virus?). But here we are, and the pandemic shows no signs of letting up on the wine and beverage industry.

I’m taking a step back now to think about the future of the podcast, and I’d like to consider your input as I do. I’d be grateful if you would take five minutes to share your feedback through this anonymous survey. Cheers, and many thanks!

Episode 20: Desperation

 

Florida’s beverage industry is reaching a breaking point. The state’s traditionally slow summer season is as slow as ever, and bars are still not allowed to serve drinks. Regulators have started touring bars and breweries around the state, trying to determine how and whether they can be allowed to operate again without prompting the spikes in new COVID-19 cases that were tied to the previous reopening attempt. Many struggling bar owners have decided they can’t afford to wait for the state to act. They’re exploring food service options that would allow them to resume service and bring in much-needed revenue before it’s too late.

Episode 19: Workarounds

 

Florida remains a COVID-19 hotspot, with at least 10,000 new cases reported in the state almost every day. Still, most of Florida is open for business — with the exception of bars. Apart from a two-week reprieve in early June, bars haven’t been allowed to serve drinks since March, even as restaurants have reopened with alcohol serviceBar owners are starting to cry foul, and some are adopting creative interpretations of the rules.

Subscribe to UnWineding on iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

Thanks to Orlando composer Julian Bond for providing original music for UnWineding, Amy Tardif for editorial guidance, and WMFE for distribution and promotional assistance.

Episode 18: Looking Back

 

It’s been a long four months since UnWineding started following the stories of three Orlando wine professionals through the ever-changing world of COVID-19. The road ahead may be even longer. So this week, we pause to look back at where it all started.

Subscribe to UnWineding on iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

Thanks to Amy Tardif for editorial guidance and WMFE for distribution and promotional assistance. Music for Episode 1 was provided by https://www.purple-planet.com.

Episode 17: Looking for Options

 

Even as Walt Disney World reopens its Orlando theme parks, Florida remains a COVID-19 hot spot. Bars still can’t serve drinks, and restaurants in South Florida have gone back to takeout-only. Normalcy seems a long ways off, and some in the food and beverage industry are looking for work-arounds as they consider their career options.

Thanks to Orlando composer Julian Bond for providing original music for UnWineding, Amy Tardif for editorial guidance, and WMFE for distribution and promotional assistance.

Subscribe to UnWineding on iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

Episode 16: Independence Day

 

As the United States marks Independence Day, COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket. Florida is one of the worst states in the country for the spread of the disease, which is taking an ever greater toll on the service industry in the hospitality capital of Orlando. Many workers are getting sick, even as bars remain closed indefinitely to on-premises drink service. Restaurants are still open, but some employees are becoming more reluctant to trade their safety for a paycheck, despite dwindling unemployment benefits for those who were able to access them in the first place.

Thanks to Orlando composer Julian Bond for providing original music for UnWineding, Amy Tardif for editorial guidance, and WMFE for distribution and promotional assistance.

Subscribe to UnWineding on iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

Episode 15: Rolling Back

 

Just three weeks after Florida’s bars were allowed to start pouring drinks again, the state reinstated its ban on alcohol service onsite. The announcement came minutes after Florida reported almost 9,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day. In Orlando, like elsewhere in the state, some bars and restaurants had voluntarily returned to retail and takeout service only, while others seemed to ignore capacity and social distancing rules entirely. Meanwhile, the choice between health and finances is becoming even more stark, with unemployment beginning to run out for food and beverage employees as coronavirus infections continue to soar.

Thanks to Orlando composer Julian Bond for providing original music for UnWineding, Amy Tardif for editorial guidance, and WMFE for distribution and promotional assistance.

Subscribe to UnWineding on iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play, and Stitcher.