Chris Gaither in the wine cellar. Photo courtesy Ungrafted

Resy SpotlightSan Francisco

How San Francisco Wine Bar Ungrafted Turned to Virtual Events

By

The husband-and-wife team of Chris Gaither and Rebecca Fineman first linked up at the advanced sommelier exam in 2012. Their early dates included sharing their dreams of one day opening a project together.

Six years, marriage, and one baby later, the pair opened their dream restaurant and bottle shop, Ungrafted in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, with a focus on wine education, community involvement, and a family-friendly environment. They began offering weekly wine classes at the shop in April 2019, bringing in anywhere from a handful to a dozen people for blind tastings and regional surveys every Sunday. With class names like “Level Up!: Central Italy” and “Power Hour: Think Pink!”, Ungrafted aims to inject celebration and inclusivity into their class offerings.

When the pandemic hit San Francisco in mid-March, Ungrafted was allowed to stay open due to its status as a wine retailer, and thus its classification as an essential business. While they drastically reduced their hours, Gaither wanted to ensure his staff was still able to earn an income. “We are dedicated to taking care of our staff, especially those that couldn’t receive unemployment,” says Gaither. “So we offered a very limited menu for takeout and had them come back to work to keep them getting paid and keep them busy.”


More Events in San Francisco


But the amount of revenue from takeout wasn’t going to be enough to sustain the business alone. At the end of March, the team moved their signature weekly wine classes to an online virtual format (through Resy). “People were very excited about it, and it was easy to set up on Resy because I was already dealing with table inventories at the restaurant,” says Gaither. The team quickly saw attendance skyrocket, starting with 19 attendees at the first virtual event to a peak of 75 attendees just a few weeks later.

Nearly every virtual event they’ve held since the pandemic began has had two to three times more attendees than any of their previous in-person events. From April through July, Ungrafted generated 580% more in event ticket sales than they did during the same period last year.

“Our classes are more successful virtually than they’ve ever been before,” says Gaither. “While the classes weren’t necessarily our main business focus before COVID-19, they’ve become one of the staples of our business and account for a significant portion of our revenue.”

The next virtual wine events at Ungrafted will take place on Dec. 1 and explore Chenin Blanc. On Dec. 6, they’re talking Napa Classics; on Dec. 11, there’s a Hannukah Beer Class; and on Dec. 13, you can learn the basics of Blind Tasting.


For more intel on how Resy technology can help small businesses, head to the Resy OS site

Discover More


Photo courtesy of Top of the Mark

The Hit List

The December Hit List: Top of the Mark, Ernest, House of Prime Rib, and More

Guides

Nine Wonderful Private Dining Options in San Francisco and Oakland

New on Resy

New on Resy: Hilda and Jesse, Mockingbird, Bombera, and More

Interviews

Lily’s Rob Lam Exults in His Work — And In His Chicken Wings

Dish By Dish

The Morris and Its Quirky Charms, in Five Dishes (Yes, Including the Duck)

The Hit List

The November Hit List: Penny Roma, Chisai Sushi Club, Rintaro, and More

Guides

The Resy Guide to Cocktails in San Francisco

The Rundown

Five Things You Need to Know About Abacá, in Fisherman’s Wharf

New on Resy

New on Resy: Brown Sugar Kitchen, Copas, Penny Roma, and More

Photo courtesy of Copas

The Hit List

The October Hit List: Lily, Al’s Place, Copas, and More

Nari's tasting menu is always served family-style. // Photo courtesy of Nari

Guides

The Resy Guide to Great-Value Tasting Menus in San Francisco

Interviews

How Mona Leena Blends Palestinian and Californian Flavors at Berkeley’s Lulu

Photo courtesy of Pasjoli

Guides

The Resy Guide to 2021 Michelin Winners in California

The Classics

How Caring About the Little Things Makes Zuni Café Special

The Classics

Blessed Be Tommy’s Joynt, the Last San Francisco Hof Brau