Berlin (Germany) December 11: Little of the harvest from the rolling vineyards in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate will make it to Christmas markets this year.
Germany usually drinks its way through at least 50 million litres of Glühwein - the country's answer to mulled wine - every year.
But with most Christmas markets closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, winemakers like Meik Dorrschuck, whose company is called Schloßgartenhof, are having to rethink the distribution of their biggest-selling product.
"For us, Christmas is the main business of the year. This year, it's not yet clear, but we estimate that sales will be around 20 per cent (compared to previous years), not higher."
Now the family company wants to bring the taste and smell of Germany's Christmas markets into homes by the bottle.
Each "Christmas Market at Home" hamper comes with 12 bottles of Glühwein, a classic mug and some candied almonds.
Stefan Kolb who works on Schloßgartenhof's marketing said: "Every third litre of wine that we produce normally goes towards the high-end mulled wine.
"As far as sales are concerned, we can at least make up some of it with products like our 'Christmas Market at Home' package, but that is only a very small amount compared to what can be sold at Christmas markets."
Germany's winemakers aren't alone in trying to keep the Glühwein spirit alive. In major cities, mulled wine to-go has become the trend of the season. One Berlin street has become known as the "Glühwein Strip", but it's a trend that is not without criticism.
Addressing parliament on Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel pleaded with politicians and the public to put lives ahead of sales or Christmas traditions:
"As hard as it is - and I know how much love has gone into it - setting up mulled wine stands and waffles stalls aren't compatible with the agreement we made to only have food to take away and eat at home.
"I'm sorry, I really am sorry from the bottom of my heart, but if the price we pay is 590 deaths a day, then, from my point of view, that is unacceptable."
Some cities have already banned the makeshift Glühwein stands and with growing calls for a tighter pre-Christmas lockdown, last orders could be around the corner for the rest.
Source: Euro News