Does a winery still need a web site?

by Eve Resnick on January 29, 2010

in General

For many years, the success of a communication strategy on the Web was measured by the traffic on the site or the click on a banner. It might not be still true. Because of the growing importance of social media, blogs and micro chats, it is more important for a winery to be present on the Net through all those channels.

I was talking to a winery manager a few weeks ago. He was complaining that all his actions on Facebook, Twitter and other social media didn’t bring much traffic to his web site. We looked at the mentions his winery was getting on the Net and we agreed it was more important to be talked about than to get traffic on the web site. Why is that? Consumers are all over the Internet. They might not keep in mind a specific brand. but when this brand’s name appears on the Net in their favorite blog or forum, or is mentioned on Twitter, it reminds them of the brand. Q.E.D!

What does it mean for a winery? It means… a lot of writing. It’s not an easy job when you are supposed at the same time to harvest, make the wines, sell them or present them at Pro-Wein or Vinexpo Hong Kong, to be also blogging, interfacing on Facebook, filming your latest event or chatting on Twitter. But it is worth the trouble. It is rewarding and a lot more efficient than a simple site.

{ 8 comments }

1 Wink Lorch January 29, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I do agree with the point you are putting across about wineries needing to find the time and ability to generate content for blogs, twitter, FB etc.

However, I simply cannot agree that they don't need a website as well. A website is still the best way to illustrate the basic offer they have – it replaces a paper brochure. Wineries should focus on producing a simple website they keep up-to-date with information on what wines they have available (with technical sheet downloads), information for visitors (if indeed they welcome visitors), contact details etc. Get rid of the flash, the sound and all the other silly bells and whistles and keep it clear and simple. From there they should send people to their blog/twitter/FB accounts if they have them and vice versa.

Certainly as a writer/editor and as an educator I need this sort of inoformation and can never find it easily on a blog or an FB page. Please can we campaign for simple informational, fuctional websites rather than putting wineries off just when they've got started (or even before they start).

2 Bobby Cintolo January 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm

To really establish a highly recognized brand a winery needs a website.

While I agree that social media, forums, blogs, and other channels are extremely important communication tools when it comes to building a brand it all starts with a website.

Does anyone disagree?

3 Evelyne Resnick January 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm

While writing this article I knew I was going a little too far. Of course, a winery needs a website for the reasons you clearly and rightly posted, Wink. But it needs to be updated regularly. What I do regret is the trend of a lot of wineries to have a site in Flash – very pretty – but not informative at all. The consumer can't find any uptodate information on the wines or the most recent vintages.

A winery, a brand need to present themselves clearly to the consumers. On the other hand, the consumers don't need to go through millions of motions to get information. It is very pleasant to watch a nice video but why the complexity?

FB, Twitter could easily complement the web site, but only if the web site is uptodated regularly. If not, I'd rather use all the search tools now available to find information on a winery.

4 Chateau Chambert January 29, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Here is my 2 cents,

I'm a winery and agree with Wink and Bobby. I see all the Internet tools to be fine used this way: The Web site is like the roof; it covers all links to different info users may look for.

Under that roof, you find:
a) Static info: basically the winery history, the vision, the wines, contact form. All this is good-old Web pages, maybe updated once a year

b) Then you have a link (and idealy a menu tab too) goigin to a blog. The blog holds the news, ideally updated weekly if possible.

c) Then a link to twitter…for those looking for daily news and chat room. While twitter can be accessed directly, having the link on the web site makes only one URL to remember; my web site!

d) FaceBook:…well for my own case, it duplicates whatever I post to my blog. I wanted the blog because anyone can read it while FaceBook requires login…and I want to respect privacy, not force people to register to my community, they can always do it later…

At the end, I see the Web site as the new "bricks & mortar" place to all social tools I can use…funny to see the web site turn that way!

Philippe Lejeune
http://www.chambert.com

5 Alison Worth January 31, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I agree with your thoughts about needing to have a clear presence on the web. I think this is going to become more and more important as the years pass: people will need to be faceboking, twittering in order to keep an engagement with the brand.
For wineries this is only an opportunity to create a closer dialogue with enthusiasts.
A wine blog I discovered and appreciate is Château du Petit Thouars ( http://chateaudupetitthouars.wordpress.com ) in the Loire Valley/Touraine. They have chosen to present themselves in a very personal and relaxed way. I think it's an example for other wineries to follow.

6 Drew Neisser January 31, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Probably the biggest problem for a wine brand without a website will be natural search performance. All those other social media links need to point somewhere. Without a website, consumer & trade searches on google could come up empty handed and that could cost a wine brand dearly.

7 Evelyne Resnick February 1, 2010 at 9:50 am

Thanks for all your comments! I answered through a post and hope we'll keep the discussion open.

8 randy February 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Incidentally, here is one of the articles that stimulated the discussion chez nous that may have resulted in this post:

http://bit.ly/btaRs6

Sure, you'll need a site to sell wines and give practical info. The real content though will be elsewhere, IMO,, and that elsewhere may be partly out of your control. That is the part many of us will have a hard time getting used to.

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