NEW HANOVER AND BRUNSWICK COUNTIES, NC (WWAY) — New Year’s eve usually means gathering a group of friends and heading to your favorite spot to ring in the New Year, but because of COVID-19, that’s not an option this year.
Governor Roy Cooper’s modified stay at home order is still in effect, closing restaurants and bars by 10pm.
With more people celebrating from home, places like Bridgewater Wines in Leland are seeing higher bubbly sales.
“Sparkling sales are up over 25% over last year, but champagne, the premium subset, is up three times,” Co-Owner Doug Zucker said.
Zucker believes that with less money being spent on travel expenses, fancy dinners, and tabs for a night out, people are splurging for a nice bottle of bubbly to kiss 2020 goodbye.
To celebrate the New Year, Bridgewater is hosting a virtual food and wine pairing. About 100 people have signed up for the event, picking up their food and wine during the day tomorrow and zooming from 7:30pm to 9pm.
“It’s a good way to get connected with people,” Doug Zucker said. “And have fun!” Co-Owner Susan Zucker said.
As a small, local business, husband and wife duo and co-owners Doug and Susan Zucker say they’re thankful for the support after what’s been a difficult year.
“People are very concerned and thank you for that concern everyone. People are very concerned are doing well,” Doug said. “They really, truly care,” Susan added.
The Zuckers look forward to a better 2021, filled with more community.
“Like a lot of the politicians are saying, I think it’s going to be a rough couple of months, unfortunately,” Doug said. “Hopefully, by March we can start getting ahead of things with the vaccine and start to see positive trends.”
“Health, but also bringing everybody back,” Susan said. “This is such a center of community here in Brunswick County. We really want to bring everybody back in and bring some life back into the neighborhood.”
Just across the bridge in Downtown Wilmington, Palate Bottle Shop and Reserve have seen a busy week as well.
“A lot of people think with covid and everybody going home with their families that it would kind of die out a little bit, but we’ve been as busy as ever,” Bar Manager Seth Butler said. “Especially due to our curbside, delivery, and take-out options and we still have a lot of stuff available as well.”
Butler says they still see lots of people during their daytime hours, but with the governor’s order closing them earlier than normal and the holiday approaching, their take out has been especially busy.
“Last year for New Years we had a DJ, we did a midnight toast and all that but like I said since we have to be closed by 10 a lot of people are coming to buy as much stuff as they can to take home,” Butler said.
Priding themselves in their wine program, Butler says their collection is specially curated by Kristen Wood, who focuses on making sure their collection consists of small family wines that you can’t find at box stores that the community will love.
To celebrate the New Year, all bubbles are 20% off and all top shelf wines are 25% off until January 1. On New Years Eve, all bubbles by the glass will be 50% off.
Butler says they are thankful for the community support this year and always.
“It’s a blessing that we’ve been able to stay open, so we hope that we can kinda focus on the future along with everyone else,” he said.
Looking ahead to a better 2021.
“That’s kind of our motto for 2021, ‘stay strong and be Wilmington strong.’ All the small businesses have supported each other around here and it’s going to be the same thing for 2021,” Butler said.