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February 03, 2010


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Having been on both sides of the producer/retailer line, I would have to agree. Countless times as a retailer I have had to call the winery to find out even the slightest bit of information about a wine, its production, let alone who distributes the wine in my state. However, small winery owners tend to be hesitant to put this information on their websites either becuase they can't keep it updated or don't think it is important.

Evan Cover

Thank you for the mention of OwnIT as we are definitely taking a leadership role to assist wineries, retailers, etailers, mobile apps, social networks et al with this inherent problem of data that is facing this industry. Overall this will take a group effort to ultimately change the way wine is represented online as well as the other offline channels.

I know that you are still evaluating this program however we have had a tremendous amount of support and adoption from both wineries and technology companies. I am happy to speak to you as well as any individual that have any questions.

Evan Cover


Totally agree.

It gets particularly irritating when I receive wine samples that I didn't know were coming, there is no information about the wines included in the shipment, and then the winery website is lacking detailed info. - the failure trifecta! :-)

Rick Breslin

I love this statement:

"Jeez, guys. These people are trying to sell your wines. Help them out for Pete's sake!"

In addition to making your wine product information accessible to sales reps and trade, wineries should also consider the benefit of a Web site that is properly optimized for search engines.

It is quite common for a consumer to "Google" your product names (e.g. 2005 Winery Name Napa Cabernet), to which they'll find Snooth ratings, Wine.com product results, etc. Wineries can easily capture the top spot by optimizing their sites for these "long tail" keyword phrases.

Even better, wineries should consider formatting their site pages to be mobile-friendly, with the advent of iPhones, Droids, and Blackberrys being the premier point of purchase research tool.

Thanks for the post,

Rick Breslin

Jo Diaz

Amen! Thanks for posting!

Jo Diaz

And while I'm thinking about, so do importer sites leave a lot to be desired.

Wine Marketing Pro

This is one of the best postings I have read in weeks on the state of the wine industry. As an unemployed 18-year wine marketing veteran, I am increasingly disappointed that many wine marketing directors have kept their posts while I search for a job. The difficulty of finding meaningful info on wine websites is amazing. I am working on a short contract for a company wanting to build a resource binder about Napa wineries. I thought this would be a piece of cake and would take me only 20 to 30 hours. Right – I would just go to their websites and pull all the info. WRONG! I am now starting week #4 and still do not have all the info I need. Having now spent time on the other side of the table I feel the pain of the retailers and the customers that just want basic info to assist them SELL wine. Come on folks – this is not brain surgery. This is brand management 101! What is even more disgusting is that when I call or email the winery for more info – my requests go unanswered. This is not just at one or two places – this is across the board. Have the wineries cut their staff so much that they are too overwhelmed to respond to the most basic communication requests? I think not. I think they have lost site of the very basic marketing materials and tools that are needed for our customers to sell our wines. Perhaps they are so concerned about their social marketing campaigns that they have forgotten that we still need to sell wine in the traditional and long time successful channels.

Blake Gray

The biggest problem with most winery websites is that they're not well maintained. They need to be updated with each vintage of each wine, and they rarely are.

It's much worse with European wineries than American ones, which at least realize the value in having some background info.

I have told more than one winery owner in Europe that they should hand a computer to their youngest teenaged kid and say, "The website is your job. You're completely in charge." A 14-year-old could certainly create a better winery website than a non-web-savvy adult, and they ought to let them do it.

Evan Cover

As a quick response to Wine Marketing Pro's comments...this is why OwnIT yourwineyourway.com was developed....to help companies like your to get clean, rich and authorized data about wineries and their respective products. On the flip side it also helps the wineries to minimize the time and cost associated with the multiple requests they receive.

Jon Bjork

During my brief stint working at Woodbridge Winery, I saw how effectively the Robert Mondavi organization maintained their internal Web site. You could find ALL of the companies product shots, photography, sales sheets, plus wine descriptions already written to conform to various word counts.

I'll admit that our panthos.com Flash site is a work in process and could be categorized as "sucks" right now.

For all the wine bloggers (including me!), each site should have clear bottle shots, preferably on white backgrounds that can be easily right-clicked and saved. There should be a handful of photos that best represent the uniqueness of the winery - not a hundred shots of parties and vineyards that could belong to any stock collection.

Each winery should really use their public site to be their central MASTER repository of all electronic marketing materials. And if you're concerned about privacy or security, why? Each of those shelf-talkers and sales sheets are meant to be seen by the public at some point.

Anyway, mea culpa!

Donn Rutkoff

The web sites are bad, the labels are worse. To all those in the industry who bemoan poor sales, how about putting some truth and some useful information on your labels. To all the big guys who manufacture new brands all the time with out saying anything of value on the label, a pox on you and your wine."We select only the finest grapes from California's cool coastal regions" on mass produced $8 wines is to tell the consumer that they are too stupid to learn anything remotely resembling facts about wine. And to talk about "we" and "family" when you don't even put your name on a wine, what a joke.


Rather than dish another heap of criticism on winery websites, let me point to a few that DO get it right, albeit for different reasons:




My advice to wineries is to steal every good idea you see here. And to pay someone to help you figure out your brand positioning. Otherwise, you'll end up with a site that's easy to work with ... and just as easy to forget.

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