The two-day event featuring over 150 producers starts today—though some bottles will likely sell quickly.
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As the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down businesses across the country, the ones that remain open have had to look at new ways to do business. Restaurants have become de facto grocery stores. Bars have become de facto wine shops. And in Northern Ireland, a pub is delivering pints of Guinness directly to drinkers’ door.

Faced with closed restaurants and tasting rooms, wineries are also exploring innovative ways to get bottles into the hands of quarantined customers, and in Napa Valley, today and tomorrow, that means a massive online wine sale featuring many bottles that—under normal conditions—would be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to buy online.

Napa Valley sign near Calistoga
Credit: Richard Cummins/Getty Images

Organized by the nonprofit trade association Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), this two-day “Open the Cellar” event—which runs from 10 a.m. Pacific Time today until midnight on Wednesday, April 15—is billed as a “never-before-been-done event” featuring over 250 wines from over 150 producers, including many wines “that are normally sold only at the winery” and “library wines rarely available online.” Selections are available across 20 vintages—1991, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2003, and every vintage from 2005 to 2019—with prices reportedly ranging from $25 to upwards of $600.

“Take pride in knowing that each purchase supports the employees and small family businesses of Napa Valley,” the event adds.

“With their tasting rooms being closed it's had a big impact on their businesses,” Teresa Wall, NVV senior director of marketing communications, said according to Wine Searcher. “In response to this, we came up with the idea to bring our members together. Many wineries are offering promotions right now, so in order to stand out we knew that our offers had to be special and unique. That’s the idea behind ‘Open the Cellars.’”

All of the available wines can be found at OpenTheCellar.com—where the list can be sorted by winery name, varietal, and vintage. Once something piques your interest, the links on the list will apparently send you to the individual winery to complete your order. Keep in mind, shipping restrictions still apply, and it would seem very likely that different wineries will have different policies when it comes to where they will ship.

Also keep in mind that supplies are limited and some bottles may move fast. As we covered last week, many isolated wine lovers have been spending their free time at home scouring places like online auctions for hard to score bottles causing interest in fine wine to actually increase during the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, don’t be surprised if the most interesting bottles and best deals sell out rapidly.