May 16th marked the first anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision to level the playing field for in-state and out-of-state wineries as far as shipping to consumers. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat examines the outcome for direct shipping thus far. Conclusion: the effects of the ruling have been slow to manifest.
The Press Democrat article states that sales of Robert Young Estate Winery (which produces about 3,000 cases) to Texas have increased four times since the ruling, doubled in Florida and are up about 50 percent in New York. Other small producers (Nalle, Kaz) quoted in the article are not as enthusiastic about the effects of the change. New Vine Logistics seems to be a clear winner, as they deal with an extreme "point of pain" for wineries: shipping and compliance.
When I conceived of The Winery Web Site Report in late 2004, nearly 6 months before the ruling, I thought for sure that expected changes in direct shipment would cause wineries to take a greater interest in their Web sites. I felt positive that they'd be interested in seeing how effective their sites were for visitors, and that they'd be keenly interested in seeing how they compared to the thousands of other US-based winery Web sites. After all, the market was both expanding (new states to ship to) and becoming more competitive (more wineries competing for your customer's dollars).
So far, however, we haven't seen the level of interest that I expected from wineries (despite a growing list of blog and newsletter subscribers -- thank you). Even if wineries aren't eager to purchase a Report for their winery, I'm surprised that we don't get more questions from wineries about their sites (which I always try to answer - hint, hint). Is everybody out there fat and happy?
As always, I'm interested in your thoughts, so please add your comment. How has the Supreme Court ruling affected you as a winery or a consumer? What do you see for the next year?