Since we’ve reached the first signs of a return to something that looks a little bit like ‘normal’, we wanted to share with you how we’ve been getting on. A recap of the last 50(ish) days
16th March, confinement is announced
We’re waiting for lockdown to be announced and the question on everybody’s lips is not if but when. At the office in Colombes, there is a restlessness, with different services preparing as best they can for an imminent period of working from home (not so simple for everyone!). This was going to be a long day for Laurent, manager of the IT team, who has to go from desk to desk getting laptops set up with all the necessary software. In the evening, the news arrived: everyone was to be on lockdown for the foreseeable future. A difficult moment for many, but we were ready.
Home office for everyone (or almost)
The next morning, 9am. In the marketing team we’re not letting anything slide. The morning email scroll calls for coffee, as per usual, but instead of catching up in the kitchen, we all join a Skype call, getting a little glimpse of our new respective workplaces! Unfortunately, we can’t stop for long, hearing that the postal service is about to massively reduce their deliveries…
For Astrid and Guénola in customer services, it starts and does not stop. They’ve barely had time to set up their home desks when the calls start flooding in. Plenty of clients are worried about what all this means for their orders, and much time is spent reassuring them before finding solutions to the problems arising. Fortunately, the vast majority of you have been understanding, and we thank you for this!
The next few days see a lull in activity on the site – not unexpected as people hurried to organise themselves for the lockdown – but things very soon pick up. After a while, our warehouse in Colombes partially reopens so that some members of the expertise team can finish evaluating the wines received and put them up for auction. This, of course, only for those who could get there safely by bicycle or car. Thanks to them, those planning to sell bottles would be able to benefit from upcoming auctions despite disruption on many levels.
Life goes on…at home
Days go by and then weeks. Not easy to accept the situation, especially with upcoming events cancelled on after the other. Our partner bar 228 Litres closes, the wine salons in Singapore and Zurich cancelled, and one of our Masterclasses is postponed for better days. It becomes harder and harder to stay in contact with you all! But our passion for wine is still there, and digital tools are nothing new to us, so the team gets to work in some innovative ways.
Pierre, manager of the 228 Litres bar and a great oenophile, launches into an online tour of France’s finest appellations. Angélique continues with her slot on the BFM Business channel, now from her living room. And since the presentation of our Barometer can’t be done in person, Angélique records a comprehensive explanation of its salient points – a fitting solution for a document that was completed in the trickiest circumstances at the time of editing and printing! Antoine, Nathan and Alexandre, all from the expertise team, get our mouth watering with their suggested food and wine pairings, this alongside their masterful tasting notes for the most tantalising wines of the moment. Elsa also keeps us entertained with her video about a natural sparkling wine from Domaine Jousset. And last but certainly not least is Alix, who treated us to a beautiful backdrop of Mont Blanc in her presentation of a wine from the Savoie domain Gilles Berlioz.
We also keep adding to your lockdown reading lists with our blog articles, written to inspire you with new ideas and interesting info from the world of wine. Each week, for example, a member of the team writes a recipe of their choosing along with their recommendations for wine pairings. This turned out to be popular, with plenty of you reading about Laure’s asparagus and mousseline sauce and Grace’s ndunderi!
Doing our bidding
Whilst happy to be able to continue with our work, we of course cannot dismiss or forget the situation in which the whole world finds itself. We set out to see how we might be able to step up and make a contribution.
Contact with interested individuals has a snowball effect that leads to our charity auction, held to support the work of the Protège Ton Soignant collective. They are currently raising money to respond to the demands of health care professionals for equipment. A flurry of hard work goes into this project and we end up raising nearly €135,000 for the organisation. You can read all about it here.
Keeping the wheels turning
Throughout this time, the iDealwine teams remain as engaged as ever to ensure our wine stocks, with the buying team going full out to guarantee and follow orders. Some wine makers are heavily impacted by the indefinite closure of restaurant, and we’re happy to lend them a hand. The buyers’ team also works hard to prepare for the post-confinement period, an undoubtedly key time for restocking our provisions. Estimates are made and spring sales take shape.
And our procedures adapt over time – a few days ago, we reopened the possibility to accept wines at the warehouse, with even some collections from private sellers possible with strict sanitary rules. It is also now possible to collect orders from Colombes. With the accounts department keeping all things finance on a roll from a distance and the IT team put to the test with a decentralised workforce using laptops all over the place, it’s clear we’ve had to be flexible in all our operations. It’s not been an easy task to keep tabs on over 40 team members across France and beyond! Alva is doing well in Hong Kong, where they are ahead of us in their return to life before, or indeed their first steps into a new world.
Since the 11th May, we’ve been welcoming some of our teams back to the office, where measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of anyone coming in. We’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you for bearing with us during this time, for continuing to make purchases, for reading our blog, and for keeping up with us on social media! All of your messages have been really encouraging, and we appreciate your support. We hope it won’t be long before you can once more enjoy yourselves with the people from whom you’ve been separated; the bottle you choose to open for that occasion will have a special taste to it, that’s for sure.