A winery needs a web site!

by Eve Resnick on February 1, 2010

in General

But what web site, what for and what use? My last post on “Does a winery need a web site?” generated interesting and well thought out comments from wine educators, winery owners and other readers.

First of all, it seems everybody thought a winery needed a web site. Some said a web site was the “brick and mortar” piece of their communication. I would call it a “click and mortar” but let’s not digress on semantics! The web site is usually seen as the place to send wine consumers, wine critics, educators and web users from Facebook, Twitter or any other social media to get information. I agree 100% on that point. But a web site can’t be “static” or it looses all its strength and usability. A “static” web site will lose visibility on any search engine if it is not regularly updated. If a once a year update is considered the norm, let’s forget about having a site. The site needs to be energized by news, tweets, videos and/or blog posts linked to social media.

Second, I didn’t get any comment on what kind of web site is needed. As for content, we usually see on most web sites a short presentation of the winery, the wines, a contact form and a news page (sometimes rather dated). It’s all good and well but what’s the point for the consumer? If a consumer knows and likes the wines, or if he heard about the wines from a friend or a forum/blog post, he’d like to be able to find and buy them. No information on the web site of the winery is no help. He’ll have to rely on the new search tools, like snooth.com, wine-searcher.com, cellar-tracker.com or cruvee.com. What about if he/she is not located in the country of the winery? What about if he/she is not familiar with those tools? All those questions are raised by the way most wineries’ web site are designed. They’re not consumer friendly. Most wineries design the site they want, not the site they need.

What I meant when I asked: “Does a winery need a web site?” was: if a winery has a web site, it has to be designed to help the consumer, not to look pretty or carry only information. A web site has to create a link between the winery and the consumer – through history, presentation of the team and description of the wines, of course – but also and mainly by helping the consumer to be a part of the life of the winery. Not only by giving him/her the way to buy the wine, but also to keep in touch with the winery and its team through the web site, the blog and all social media available. A web site has to address the consumers’ needs in order to fulfill its purpose. If it doesn’t, why invest in a web site?


1 Wine-Searcher February 2, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Hi Evelyne

Your comments are valid. Static information is history. Dynamic information is alive. You mentioned Wine-Searcher. I am the President of Wine-Searcher. Our site is used by over 1.5 million visitors per month and over 32 million searches for wine is made each year. Users depend on Wine-Searcher because they want to see the latest prices, new wineries and wine stores, updated content on grape varieties, regions, en primeur etc.

We started our Facebook Page last year and we have become the largest Wine Facebook Page with over 81,000 fans on one Page and over 750,000 fans on the other. Why do we attract so many fans at http://www.facebook.com/winesearcher It has all to do with new content, conversation, engagement, interaction.

Wine is a conversational drink. And if a site does not have "live" content that facilitates engagement and new knowledge building, then the site becomes stale and users leave.

The focus of a site should not be so much about "we have a deal for you" but what do my site visitors want and how can I fulfil that need?


Adon Kumar

2 Evelyne Resnick February 3, 2010 at 8:04 am

Thank you both for your comments. DTC sales are indeed very important in our troubled time and require a strong on line presence. But this presence has also to be very consumer oriented and brings new and lively content. It has to answer the consumers' needs.

3 Kathy February 3, 2010 at 12:44 pm

As a journalist, I've been complaining for years about flash and static, incomplete information on wine websites (US, FR, AU, AT, ES, PT, IT, SA). Nothing like going to a Medoc first growth website and finding the last "live" harvest entry – in 2003.
It is only with wineries' movement to Facebook and Twitter that this need for real-time interaction is becoming apparent – or so I hope.
Of course, as a consumer, particularly now, price is my first priority and I may choose a different varietal or appellation based on price and review.
Does this make me allergic to brands? Maybe. Or maybe I reflect the wine equivalent of the independent Massachusetts voter.
And that is the great unknown at the moment. Have we (US, global?) abandoned brand (name or appellation) and will this stick? Or can wineries capture and keep "local" loyalty by using "real time"? Gallo apparently wants to know, it posted a job for a Social Media Marketing Manager last Friday.
Returning to price: Argentina is storming the US, despite a lot of poor websites, because of quality/price. That price is likely to get even better if the Argentine government floats the peso down against the dollar.
Beyond reworking websites as holding bins for basic contact, buy and vintage information, the question you've proposed, for which I don't yet have "the" answer, is: what's the next frontier?

4 Evelyne Resnick February 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm

What's the next frontier? It's really THE question at the moment, Kathy. As I was telling my students a few days ago, the rise of digital communications and the increase of their importance will change the way wineries communicate on their wines. The debate brands/not brands might even become obsolete sooner than we expect. I don't have the answer to your question – maybe parts of the answer. It is a fascinating subject and I wish we could debate more in depth on the topic.

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