Over at Oklahoma Wine News, Thomas Jones addresses the question, "Does My Winery Need A Website?" (I'll confess, I can't figure out how to link directly to his post, which is the second entry on 4/12/2005).
Here's some of what he has to say:
It is becoming increasingly clear that wineries need websites much more than the average small business.
Among other things wineries need websites to:
- Gather Newsletter Subscribers
- Market Your Wines Globally 24 Hours a Day
- Help Customers To Recognize Your Labels
- Provide Contact Info to Local Grape Growers
- Highlight the Retailers That Carry Your Wines
- Show the Background and History of Your Winery
- Post Press Releases for New Events and Products
- Publish Tasting Notes for the Wines You Sell
- Demonstrate Your Experience, Friendliness and Competence
- Display a Printable Map and Driving Directions to Your Winery
All of these, with the exception of driving directions and a map, are things which we include as part of our 25-element "visitor effectiveness" rating in The Winery Web Site Report.
By the way, the reason that driving directions and a map (specifically) are not part of the rating system is that this would prejudice the score of wineries which (for whatever reason) can't accept visitors. We do, however, rate how a site meets the needs of people who want more information about your winery and its wines, people who might be past or potential customers (a category of visitor that we call browsers, along with buyers, the trade, and the media).
If you want people to visit your winery, by all means give them good directions and a map! That's part of helping visitors accomplish what they came to your site to do. Even better, tell them why they might want to visit. Tell them an authentic story about your winery (apologies to Seth Godin for stealing his riff).
Note that Jones is also involved with Nuyaka Creek Winery in Nuyaka, OK.