How to Still Enjoy Wine Despite COVID-19 Restrictions

One way to reduce stress? Spend a few minutes with a glass of wine.

By Bob McGinn March 23, 2020

Image: Shutterstock

It seems that every day living here gets more and more restrictive. What’s a wine lover to do? I’ve been pondering this situation as I remain cloistered. How can we make the best of this dire situation?

First, it’s most important to maintain a strong immunity. Proper diet, exercise and adequate sleep are key ingredients to accomplish this. Just as important is managing stress. Stress can wreak havoc on immunity and stress is running very high right now.

In addition to meditation or yoga, another way to reduce stress is to spend a few minutes with a glass of wine. Not only will it relax you, it will aid digestion, as well. In addition, scientists have discovered that red wine has anti-viral properties. An ingredient of red wine, resveratrol, also found in grape juice, raspberries and other foods, can reduce the effects of viruses. Studies have shown that resveratrol is effective against a number of viruses, including the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus. The concentrations of resveratrol used in the studies are likely higher than in your glass, but a glass or two a day of red wine may prove beneficial, if only as a placebo effect. Pinot noir seems to have the highest concentration of resveratrol. If you have questions, definitely consult your physician.

Also: Enjoy your glass of red wine outdoors. A professor at Massachusetts' Worcester Polytechnic Institute has shown, in a five-year study of viruses aboard cruise ships, that pathogens are more likely to be transmitted indoors rather than outdoors. While beaches are off limits for the time being, try to find a quiet place outside or, if you are at home, consider the lanai or patio.

Michael's on East is providing a bottle of wine with a three-course takeout meal. Other restaurants that remain open are also allowed to sell wine to go. If you are hesitant about visiting the restaurant, consider Grubhub for delivery.

If your favorite wine is not available in retail, or if wine stores restrict sales, consider retail delivery or shipping from the winery. Total Wine offers delivery, or you can use Instacart. Most California wineries have closed their tasting rooms but are still shipping wine. Florida is an open shipping state so you can order from the wineries directly. This may cost more than you are used to, so also consider wine clubs such as Naked Wines or WSJwine.

Now that you have your wine and want to be entertained, consider streaming a wine-themed movie. Many are available, but I would suggest Wine Country, Bottle Shock and the perennial favorite, Sideways.

Bob McGinn has spent his entire career in the wine industry—forming wine clubs, working in wine sales marketing and engaging in all facets of the winemaking process, including vine management, fermentation and yeast analysis. He has developed wine programs for companies such as Marriott, Sheraton and Smith & Wollensky, and consults with local restaurants. You can read more of McGinn’s work at

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