From grape-based vodka to hand sanitizer: Goose Ridge Winery pivots to meet pandemic need

Erin Edmonds

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have been using the extra time at home to pick up new hobbies, from baking to basket weaving. However, one local winery has been using this time to start doing something unexpected: making hand sanitizer.

If you’re familiar with the story of Goose Ridge, then this venture shouldn’t come as a surprise. An entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for supporting local business have guided the winery’s founding Monson family in everything from raising cattle to producing cider.

More recently, Goose Ridge had been planning to fulfill the dream of the late Goose Ridge founder Arvid “Vido” Monson of creating vodka from his estate grapes with the launch of VIDO Premium Vodka. However, when the pandemic hit, Goose Ridge saw a need for hand and surface sanitizer, took its high proof alcohol intended for vodka, and pivoted to meet that need.

This pivot has been vital to the community due to a pandemic-induced shortage of sanitizer. Explaining the motivation behind providing this essential service, Tiffany Stetson, GM of DTC Sales at Goose Ridge explains, “It really, for us, goes back to supporting local. And that’s with everything that we do.”

A commitment to supporting local is evident even in their tasting room, which boasts bottles with labels designed by local artists. This commitment has gone above and beyond with the supply of sanitizer, the first 20,000 gallons of which were delivered to the state of Washington to support essential workers.

Selling hand sanitizer has also allowed Goose Ridge to start bringing employees back earlier than expected, which has been a huge relief considering the economic and emotional burden of the past months. Looking back toward the start of the pandemic, Tiffany explains, “It was very scary. You know, it’s tough to have to let go of your team… They’re our family and we want to be there for them.”

To keep business going, Goose Ridge employees have been working overtime - Tiffany even drove around to make wine deliveries personally: “I felt like the ice cream man... like I needed a little sound so everybody would know I was coming.”

Thankfully, Goose Ridge’s commitment to supporting local has been reciprocated by the Woodinville community during the pandemic. “I can’t thank our club members and my personal friends enough - the Woodinville community,” says Tiffany. “I mean, people stood up. And I know that budgets may have been tight, but I feel like people were really trying to support local where they could… I’ve seen a lot of great, positive things that make me feel really good about the Woodinville community.”

To continue supporting Goose Ridge and other local wineries, consider making reservations at tasting rooms. “Wineries are here to welcome guests back. We want to see faces. We’ve missed people’s smiles. You may not be able to see ours right now; we’re trying to smile with our eyes,” Tiffany laughs through a mask. “You may not be able to see our smiles, but they’re there.”

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