Online wine retailer Naked Wines recorded an 81% increase in revenue during April and May as orders rose sharply during the Coronavirus lockdown.
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For two weeks at the start of March the business had to stop accepting new customers in the UK due to increased demand from existing customers.
Eamon FitzGerald, global wine director at Naked Wines, told Decanter: ‘We were seeing Christmas levels of demand, starting in March and continuing throughout April. We had to postpone taking new UK customer orders in March to give us the breathing space to re-organise the warehouse in order to operate safely.’
Other than the not-unwelcome challenge of coping with ‘unprecedented’ demand, he says the company’s main obstacles during the early days of lockdown were operational.
‘Because we are 100% online and don’t have any physical stores, our main challenges have been being able to work safely: packing cases in our warehouse and getting them off to our customers, or getting wine from source,’ says FitzGerald.
‘Customers are spending a little bit more on wine too, which is encouraging.’
As well as operating in the UK, Naked Wines has markets in the US and Australia, and FitzGerald says the American market in particular is going from strength to strength.
‘The US has overtaken the UK as the largest company in our group and it’s the fastest growing company in the group as well. We are working with some really great winemakers in the US; the range is really coming together.’