This great article by Jim Gordon in Wines & Vines says (in order):
- Tasting Room (more than half)
- Wine Club (most of the rest)
- Web Site (a tiny bit)
- Mailing List (another tiny bit)
Obviously, I'm most interested in number 3, about which Gordon writes
Direct sales through their websites still seem to be a low priority for many, many wineries when you look at these figures. Only 2% of respondents said they do more than 75 percent of their direct sales over the Internet. Another 1% does between 51-75% of their direct sales this way.
No wonder that's why response to The Winery Web Site Report has been, well, -- frankly -- disappointing in the extreme. Most wineries don't appear terribly interested in an evaluation of how well their Web sites meet the needs of their visitors. And it makes sense - for most wineries, their Web site doesn't contribute in any meaningful way to revenue. It's just a necessary expense. Either we were ahead of our time, or horribly misguided. We failed to address a point of pain.
Sadly, we won't be publishing our list of the Top 10 Winery Web Sites for 2006, either. Last year's list brought a lot of interest, but didn't translate to sales. I may revisit last year's winners in a later post.
That's a Sideways (pun intended) means of letting you know that the Report itself is on hiatus. The machinery required to continually update our database of nearly 3,000 winery Web sites is simply too costly to keep running, even with automation. I'll continue to blog on winery Web sites, of course, and maintain our comprehensive list of winery blogs, but we won't be maintaining our evaluation database, which requires human input to maintain, even with extensive automation support (like checking to see which wineries have updated their home pages each week). Every site evaluation was conducted by a real person working from a standardized set of criteria.
If you'd like an opinion about your winery Web site, drop me a line. I'll give you the benefit of our experience, and I won't charge you $495 for it. It was certainly a fun experiment in publishing.