Someone inquired about The Winery Web Site Report last month, and although I had to tell them that the Report is on hiatus, I did offer them some comments on their Web site. I've disguised them here as XYZ, and made some slight edits.
I apologize for the delay. The Winery Web Site Report is currently on hiatus - the response has been too intermittent to keep the review personnel and systems running full time. During our last look at all 2800+ winery web sites in our database (2005 data), the XYZ site scored a 60 (where the average was 48 and the high was 83). Based on your size (40,000 - 100,000 cases), you were 20th out of 69 wineries of that size (for which we have a reported case production ... we attempted to call every winery to verify production figures - [so we could] segment our results by winery size)....
Looking at your site today, I see that you must have made changes since then, as I see many of the elements we look for in highly rated winery Web sites. You have the basic call to action (Buy Wine) and trade information, as well as a media kit (although we'd recommend a separate "For the Media" item in your navigation, instead of hiding under "Trade").
Our premise is that visitors come to your site with a goal in mind, and the better your site helps them accomplish that goal, the more likely they are to interact with you and become a customer. There are four main site visitor types: buyer (for self or as a gift), browsers (less clear what their intention is), trade (people who do or want to resell your wine), and media (people who want to tell a story about your wine).
A good home page makes it easier for those 4 types to see what to do next (we do recommend "Give a Gift" in addition to just "Buy Wine" as a major navigation element).
Navigation is good (obvious, and consistent from page to page, although a fair number of items in the list, which can be confusing).
The header logo should be a link back to the home page (a very standard Web convention), in addition to the "Home Page" text link.
The contact information in the footer would be better placed above the fold, as opposed to hidden at the bottom of the page.
Use of the wine bottle as a prominent image on the home page is a good thing. Most people do the "picture of a vineyard" thing, which doesn't help. The bottle is the thing which a consumer sees and should recognize on a store shelf.
I see you have information about past releases (PDFs under each wine under Our Wines) but it's not really called out.
Might be nice to have a list of restaurants and retailers that stock your wine, instead of just the distributors.
The secret, as always, is to build your list and market to it effectively. Do you get a lot of calls which cite the Web site as the reason for calling (do you track this?). It would seem that offering some incentive to provide an e-mail address so that you can continue to "touch" the (potential) customer on a regular basis would be a good thing. You should strongly consider an e-newsletter, even if it's only once a quarter (monthly makes sense)
How frequently do you update your home page? Ideally, at least once a month. There's no indication from just looking at your site how recently it was updated (you might add a date to the rotating "news and features" items). No copyright date, and your server doesn't return a Last-Modified header (common with a lot of PHP-based sites).
Your blog is not really called out (of course, it's fairly dormant with only a handful of posts over the past year). I will add it to our list of winery blogs (http://www.WineryWebSiteReport.com/blogs.html) and mention it on our blog.
I would argue that your "Wine Guild" club is not as effective for you since it includes other wineries besides XYZ. I could be wrong.
You are the #1 search result on Google for your own name, and you own at least one other domain (xyz.com) besides the logical one (the simple concatenation of the words that make up your name). Those are good things. You're #5 or so for "<location> wines" (a tough phrase, but a likely one), which isn't bad, although someone (winery in same appellation) is buying AdWords and appearing in the #1 slot. Have you experimented with placing AdWords ads?
Do you have any metrics about your Web site? What do you do with them? What are the most common search phrases used by visitors to your site?
And of course, what are your goals for your winery and your Web site? Clearly, you have distribution and at 70,000 cases or more, you're not one of the smaller fry who need direct-to-consumer to survive/thrive..
While this was writtent to the nice folks at XYZ, the issues with most winery Web sites are similar (lack of freshness, lack of information for the trade, lack of information for media). Visitors come with a goal and a Back button. Your job is to help them meet their goal in such a way that they want to continue to interact with your winery.