Kerrin Laz and Ray Isle host an intimate virtual gathering for wine enthusiasts. 

Wine connoisseurs joined Kerrin Laz, our Wine Program Director, and Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor at Food & Wine Magazine, for a glass of wine and casual conversation. 

Ray, who has been sheltering-in-place in New York City since the beginning of the pandemic, told the group he has started doing two things. Cooking at home and drinking the wines from his cellar. 

“It struck me that I have all of this wine that I’ve been holding onto forever,” he said. “You always tell yourself that you have to save it. You’re going to drink it in five years, but then something like this happens and you think… wow, what am I waiting for?”

Kerrin said many of her clients have also cracked open bottles from their personal collections and that she has noticed an increase in her online sales.

“K LAZ Collection doesn’t always feel like a traditional retailer because we are high-touch and velvet-glove, but recently we’ve felt more like a traditional retailer. It’s as if someone sent out a message about a small wine collection and everyone decided to come check us out.”

Ray didn’t find this surprising as the high-end wine industry has been flourishing. Many of his colleagues and friends have seen a spike in sales, particularly for wines within the $200 price range. 

“One of the few things we can do right now that is an absolute pleasure is drinking wine,” he said. 

Food and wine events normally occur in the spring, however many have been canceled in response to COVID-19. Kerrin talked about Inspire Napa Valley, her wine tasting event which raises funds for Alzheimer’s research. She had to cancel the event this year, but she is already looking forward to next year. The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado was also canceled, however Ray will be hosting a virtual wine tasting for the event on Friday, June 19. 

Kerrin and Ray opened up the floor for discussion near the end of the conversation. They thoughtfully answered questions from restauranteurs and winemakers from across the country and speculated on the future of the industry. 

“The community of people who love wine is always there,” Ray said. “Whether we’re together in person or gathering virtually. This experience has reaffirmed how much I love the people in this industry.”