Paying visitors are the backbone of every artisan brewer, winemaker or distiller.
Cellar doors and tasting rooms are designed to accommodate, feed and water the hundreds and thousands of tourists that visit our regions each year. Our hard-working producers are feeling the loss of the usual influx of visitors.
Now, these venues stand near-empty as lockdown rules affect those who usually travel away from the cities on weekends or for a break in the country.
Locals are often hesitant to venture out, only to evade the usual rush of visitors from other areas and tend to stay put in the safety of their own homes to avoid coming into contact with those who could be COVID-19 positive.
But it needn't be this dire. Small businesses and artisan producers outside of lockdown areas are still able to open their doors to trade, so long as they follow the protocols for social distancing, contact tracing, masks for all staff (and patrons who are not tasting or eating) and staying seated when they have a glass in hand.
You are required to wear a mask when you enter and sign in, but when you need to drink or eat, you can remove your mask. While this seems like an inconvenience, when you weigh up the joy of getting out into a new environment for a short while and enjoying someone else's cooking and hospitality, it's a small price to pay.
It is a perfect time to book in and visit your favourite distiller, winery or independent brewer while there is loads of space in the venue and you get the undivided attention of the owner or staff. You will connect with these producers, get to know them and join their rewards clubs while there is time and space to relish the surroundings.
This is the time of year when new releases, special deals and new products are often released. You could be the first to try a new vintage at your favourite winery or the new exotic flavour a brewer is experimenting with.
If you are dead against travel or socialising, then the solution is to buy as many of these products online as possible. Every producer has an online presence, and specials and free delivery are on offer across all regional areas. You can join most wine clubs online and, without moving from your lounge, can enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Starting a small wine or beer tasting club, where social distancing is maintained, and house rules obeyed, is enormous fun. Gather a few friends and show off your choices and help spread the word about the skills behind the labels we often take for granted.
Let's give our producers all the support we can - so they will still be there to entertain us when we are once again able to move more freely and enjoy life in some form of normality.