Just as every book has its own International Standard Book Number (ISBN), there's a nascent movement to give every distinct wine its own AVIN (which doesn't seem to be an acronym for anything, but probably came from Adegga Vintage Identification Number). The whole idea is to make it easier to search online for information on a particular bottle of wine.
Unlike ISBNs, an AVIN is free to create and use. This is an important distinction, and could lead to broad adoption. The question is whether wineries will see value in using precious back label real estate to make it easier for consumers to compare and evaluate their wines.
Testing is important for Laura Ashley, and it's important for your winery Web site. Google Analytics plus Google Web Site Optimizer are free tools which allow you to accomplish this kind of testing yourself.
What's a fair price for a glass/bottle of wine in a restaurant?
This question showed up as a comment to one of my posts. I'll give you my opinion, with the caveat that I'm not a restauranteur trying to make a living.
By the bottle:
Most restaurants will let you bring in your own bottle of wine (as long as it's not one on their list) and charge you a fixed (i.e. independent of the cost of the bottle itself) corkage fee. If that's so, a rational pricing mechanism would say that bottles on their list should be priced at suggested retail + corkage. In that case, they are making the retail markup on the wine, plus a once-per-seating corkage fee. Note that suggested retail is not what you pay at Safeway when buying with your Club card - it's what you would expect to pay at the winery (IMHO).
Of course, wine and spirits are a profit center (and thus defray costs of people who don't drink with their meals), so I think you're unlikely to see a completely rational price for restaurant wine. Plus, a good list is worth something in itself -- I expect to pay something for access to wines and vintages not in my local wine shop.
For myself, I think a 2x markup from wholesale is a very fair price to see in a restaurant for a wine which you can actually buy today. More than 3x gets my dander up. Note that wholesale price is typically 67% of retail (or retail is a 50% markup from wholesale), a "fair" price for the $25 bottle of wine I bought at the winery is $35 (2.1 times the $16.67 wholesale price). 3x wholesale is $50.
Note: for rare wines, well-kept, I think a restaurant should charge what the market will bear. People buying these at a restaurant aren't worried about "fair."
By the glass:
For purposes of analysis, consider that a 750ml bottle contains almost exactly 5 five-ounce servings of wine.
If the wine being served by the glass is also available on the wine list (I can't imagine it wouldn't be), then I would expect to see a price which is 1/5th the price of the bottle (in a perfect world, where wines never spoil) . And indeed, if it's a place that serves a lot of wine by the glass (so there isn't much spoilage), that seems "fair."
I'm willing to pay more if the by-the-glass wines are treated well once they've been opened, raising the likelihood that what I'm drinking will be tasty. I can also see charging a bit more for wines which are less likely to be consumed, where the wine is offered by the glass for people who like to try something new (e.g. Petite Sirah by the glass).
Bottom line: It would be great if restaurants were more transparent about how they price wine. As someone who almost always buys wine when dining out, this information would make me feel better about the restaurant (just as I like knowing that Costco limits its markup to 15 percent or less). Most restaurants probably don't want the hassle of dealing with people who don't like their explanation, though.
So, now it's your turn to opine on what's "fair." Please leave a comment.
This study by HubSpot isn't specific to wineries, but to the extent that wineries are like other small-to-medium-size businesses, the answer is a resounding YES!
Sites with associated blogs get an astounding 55% more visitors that those that don't. More traffic (in general) means more conversions (the caveat is that the traffic needs to be traffic with an interest in what you're offering).
Of course, if your winery Web site sucks to begin with, more visitors won't help much.
The point? You need to make sure the basics are working right before considering launching a winery blog. And you shouldn't consider blogging unless you can willingly commit to posting something interesting at least once a week for a year. If that seems like too much trouble, then don't.
Blogging isn't for every winery. But if you can do it, it clearly has a benefit to your overall Web presence.
"But," you say, "I can't afford to give my customers free soup to go."
Then you need to charge a little more. Because the impact of an unexpected "something extra" far outweighs the extra cost of providing it. I still remember when Amazon sent me an unannounced Christmas present (a travel mug we still use).
Note: I am not suggesting that you literally give your customers free soup. It could be a hat, a corkscrew, a T-shirt.
Make sure that the first gift (to a new customer) doesn't *create* an expectation of future gifts (because then it becomes an entitlement). By the same token, continue to surprise every customer from time to time. It's just memorable marketing (as opposed to the other kind).
Do you have any memorable marketing tactics to share? Leave a comment!
Active users tend to become transactors, so the question is, how to turn your non-active customers into more active ones? I think this may be one of the reasons that Twitter shows promise for some wineries.
Every month, I turn up a few more winery blogs to add to The List.
How do I find them? Some people write to tell me about their winery blogs, some people write to tell me about blogs they've seen, some come from my Google alert for "winery blog", and some come from following Twitter for the same phrase. Every once in a while, I search for "winery blog" on Google and really drill down. I wish there were a more reliable way.
To underscore the promise, the campaign, appearing in national magazines, includes a money-back guarantee from the Blackstone Winery, part of the Constellation Wines United States division of Constellation Brands.
“We’re so sure you’ll enjoy the taste of Blackstone wines that if you don’t, we’ll pay you back,” the ads declare. “Count on it.” There is even a section of the Blackstone Web site devoted to the refund offer.
Ironically, the money-back guarantee isn't valid in California (along with AL, AR, CT, GA, HI, IN, LA, ME, MD, MI, MS, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, UT, and VT), although Blackstone is based here. The Blackstone rebate site requires you to enter your state, which allows them to collect the data, but is sort of a pain in the butt for site visitors.
In states where the offer is valid, Blackstone will refund your purchase price, up to 12 dollars.
If the intent of your winery Web site is to actually sell more wine (as opposed to tell the world how wonderful you are or show pretty pictures of your manicured vineyards), then take a look at this post from Chris Baggott on his latest experiment.
Now I completely understand that toasters and wine are completely different products. But Chris's point is this:
Go wide, with pages that are designed to be search friendly and target the exact terms people use to search with organic landing pages specifically designed for only those terms.
I think he's on to something here. Best of all, it doesn't take a lot of money to try this experiment for yourself. I'll be interested to see the results from his experiment.
On the one hand, I'm sorry to see John go. On the other hand, I can totally appreciate what he's doing. I pulled the plug on The Winery Web Site Report (original custom report version) a long time ago.
I would recommend reading all 18 of JD's blog posts from the past few months, and taking notes as appropriate to your winery.
From The Merger Network, signs of the economic times (free registration required to view full listings):
BFS-172810: Cult Winery
Napa - One of a Kind Location: Other California
(Napa) Asking Price: Between $10 Million and $15 Million
(15,000,000) Summary: Extremely rare opportunity: Cult
Winery for sale. The owners are retiring and this is an opportunity to own one
of Napa's finest cult winery estates. Turn-key operation, very profitable.
BFS-162369: Custom Crush
Winery 200,000 Gallons Capacity Location:
California (California) Asking Price: Between $2.5 Million
and $5 Million (4,750,000) Summary: This is a complete
package. A Winery with up to 85,000 cases capacity, 200,000 gallons of stainless
tanks, 2,000 barrels and ample facilities for managing in excess of these
amounts. The Winery has a...
BFS-172809: 180,000 Case
Winery - Growing and Profitable Location:
California (Sonoma County) Asking Price: Not
Disclosed Summary: 180,000 case winery & vineyard on
well-known road in Healdsburg. Very profitable business with opportunity for
continued growth. Excellent reputation and turn-key operation. This offering is
BFS-172808: Sonoma Winery,
10 Acres Vineyard, Home Profitable Location:
California (Sonoma County) Asking Price: Between $2.5
Million and $5 Million (3,650,000) Summary: 10 acre winery
estate on a beautiful wine country road. Open hours tasting room permit with
25,000 gallon winery permit. Turnkey, profitable business with opportunity for
expansion. Great for your...