Here's an interesting article about Smith-Berry Winery in Henry County, Kentucky (one of the wineries whose Web site we review in The Winery Web Site Review). Kentucky, like New York, permitted in-state wine shipment, but barred those from out of state.
But Henry County isn't likely to be confused with California's wine-rich Napa Valley, even though visitors from California and New York toured Smith-Berry Winery on Kentucky Derby weekend.
An experience like that can open new markets for a boutique winery -- with one catch. Customers could buy bottles at the winery but couldn't buy them directly when they got back home.
"They enjoyed the wine," Smith said. "But it's hard to haul back wine on a plane."
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month may clear the way for Smith-Berry and other wineries to sell directly to out-of-state buyers.
Media coverage is important to the lifestyle-oriented marketplace of wine, and helping the media tell your story is one thing that your Web site can probably do more effectively than it does at present (Any thoughts to add here, Tom?).
But the Web also offers great tools for finding out what people are saying about your wines online. I found the above article because I have a (free!) Google Alert for the words winery web site report, which picked up those words in the article above.
There are several tools (Google Alerts from Google, GoogleAlert from Indigo Stream, Technorati, and PubSub) all of which allow you to specify a "search of interest" and then subscribe to that search as an RSS feed. You can read more about them in these columns I wrote for NorthBay biz magazine here in Northern California:
Danger, Will Robinson! introduces the idea of automated searches to keep track of news that impacts your business and talks about Google Alert and PubSub.
Reputation Management talks about, well, reputation management. In other words, keeping track of what others are saying about your business online.
In short, you should consider creating a GoogleAlert or Technorati search for the name of your winery, and then subscribe to its associated RSS feed with Bloglines, NewsGator, or the RSS reader of your choice. Technorati focuses more on what is being said in the world of Web logs, Google searches the broader univese of Web pages. It's probably a little easier to get started with Google Alerts or Google Alert, since you can opt for e-mail notification and/or an RSS feed, and then see what Technorati or PubSub can do with the same search phrase.
Best of all, these tools are free (although most offer more extensive services for a fee).