Join an expected 200+ wine tourism professionals for the third annual Wine Tourism Conference, scheduled for November 13-15 in Portland, Oregon. This year, the conference will be even better with a pre-conference excursion, additional workshops, a post-conference wine-pairing dinner, and the first-ever Great American Wine Festival.
This is a guest post by 2013 Wine Tourism Conference speaker, Andy Hayes.
Do you remember when we didn’t have the Internet? You had to call your mom instead of Googling for the answer, and to find out about a winery you either hit up the yellow pages or got a brochure from your travel agent. Oh, how times have changed….
I think we all can agree that to be in the wine business, you need a web presence, even if it’s just your address and phone number. But some wine websites are better than others. Here are the 5 most common mistakes that I see in my travels.
Awesome. Or maybe not.
5. Those fancy flash widgets need to go.
Apple is mostly the reason that those flash animations that you paid so dearly for are now useless. I say mostly because now, most smartphones can’t display them. Nor can people who arrive to your site via Facebook – that’s important too, right?
Honestly, I never liked Flash anyway – it takes a long time to load, and the custom graphics were always confusing to navigate. Ditch all those custom animations and simplify – a great photo with a bit of text is better anyway.
Doing It Right: Vincent Wine Company here in Portland just has a simple WordPress site. It might not be exciting,but nobody is going to complain that your site is too simple, trust me.
4. I need you to be more specific.
On a recent wine trip to Walla Walla, I had a difficult time organizing our tasting room visits because half of the wineries had no clear hours displayed on their site. And then, one of the wineries that was a personal fave had really confusing info about their wine club membership – it asked for my birthday and credit card, but didn’t tell me how much it costs!
Consumers are savvy, and they don’t have time nor inclination to email you to ask questions. Get clear and specific about your offers, or like me, they’ll take their business elsewhere.
Doing It Right: Tallavera Grove, one of my favorite Australian wineries, has details galore on their site – all neatly organized between the tasting room, restaurant, special events, and more.
3. Speaking of specifics, contact details belong on every page.
You should have contact details for your business on every page of your website. That includes email, phone number, and address (if you are appointment-only, I understand not having the address, but still…). You’d think this would be obvious, but I remember being lost in the Livermore Valley looking for a winery that had no address on their website, and no one was answering the phone – because the site’s phone number was outdated.
Doing It Right: Da Ma has their tasting room hours & a phone number on the right side of every page, and the address is at the bottom of every page.
2. Tell me about your wines – but don’t make me work.
Your product is wine (or something wine-related), so make sure you’re telling me all about it. Many wine sites make customers choose between product lines or series that are very confusing – how am I suppose to know, as a new customer, if I want to learn about your ‘Salmon’ Series or the ‘Chateau’ Vintage?
Instead, break it down for me. If you have wines great for a dinner party, great, show me. If you have wines great for a newbie wine lover, great, show me. If you have wines perfect for a splurge or gift, great, show me.
Doing It Right: Pairings Portland mostly use video on their website, but if you’re coming to Portland, visit their shop to understand the kind of experience wine consumers deserve. People shouldn’t just buy your wine based on which label image they like the most.
1. Show me some personality, would ya?
The wine industry is one of the most personable industries out there, and yet I can’t tell you how many cold, un-personable wine sites I have seen. If your about page doesn’t tell me your story and have photos of you, I have to wonder what you are hiding. How about some creativity?
Doing it Right: Follow Chocolate Shop on Facebook to get an idea about how personality and branding go hand in hand. You don’t have to like sweet wine to see how much their customers like what they do, and their site pulls in a feed of the tasty stuff they share on Facebook.
About the Author:
Andy Hayes is a creative web producer based in Portland, Oregon and is the founder of Plum Deluxe, a website decided to life’s luxuries big and small. Andy will be leading the 9:30am breakout session on Friday, Nov 15 titled “Live Website Critiques”. Come join us in Portland this November and have your website critiqued by Andy in person!
The 5th annual Wine Tourism Conference
1. Conference Content & Agenda
There is an amazing line up of industry players and experts gearing up to share their insights into wine tourism, inspire you and your team, and give you valuable take aways that you can go back and implement at your winery immediately. Please check out the conference agenda for full details.
2. Tasting Room Marketing & Social Media Workshops Added
Some of the most popular and engaging sessions at previous Wine Tourism Conferences has been about DTC (Direct to Consumer) sales and Social Media strategy. We felt that each topic deserved more time, and so we have added optional workshops on Wednesday, Nov 13.
The Tasting Room Marketing – Increasing Visitors & Sales workshop will be led by a power trio of players: Dixie Huey of Trellis Growth Partners, Michael Kelly of Sokol Blosser winery, and Brent Johnson of Vin65.
The Social Media workshop will be led by Andrew Healy of 3 Rock Marketing – a Napa based Social Media marketing firm for the wine industry.
3. Networking & Learning from Peers
What industry event brings together wineries from across the country, wine tour operators, winery associations, and tourism associations? There is a great collaborative spirit at the Wine Tourism Conference, and some of the best things learned come from open discussions and sharing by attendees.
4. Wine Tourism is a Growing Industry
The concept of “wine tourism” is growing world-wide, and regions around the world are organizing efforts to increase wine tourism to their areas. The US just celebrated it’s first “Wine Tourism Day” this past may, and governments like Australia are creating substantial initiatives to drive tourism to their wine regions. The Wine Tourism Conference is the best way to understand the trends in wine tourism in order to increase visibility and winery visitorship.
5. Great American Wine Festival
The 1st annual Great American Wine Festival is scheduled directly after the Wine Tourism Conference on Saturday, Nov 16. This inaugural event will showcase wines from across the US to over 350 consumers. For information on how to exhibit your wines, please email us.
Are you a WTC alumni? Do you have any points to add to this list?
If you are a winery with any direct sales, then you know the complexities involved with shipping wine direct.
But did you know that it may be illegal for you to sign a bottle for a customer?
Did you also know that those little nifty credit card swipers and apps for your smartphone are an absolute no-no at outside events like wine festivals and wine walks (even if you plan to ship the wine)?
Unfortunately, these are just a few examples of the many anti-consumer regulations plaguing the wine industry (beer & spirits too!) propagated by an antiquated alcohol distribution system. While we certainly think that wholesalers and a distribution system have their place and serve a valuable function, there needs to be equitable representation when regulations affecting consumers are concerned.
That is why the Wine Tourism Conference, and organizer Zephyr Adventures, is pleased to support the launch of the American Wine Consumer Coalition.
The American Wine Consumer Coalition (AWCC) is a new advocacy organization that aims to “ represent the interests of wine lovers and to help this unique group pursue their love of wine”.
Spearheading efforts for the AWCC is Tom Wark. Tom has been a long-time advocate for the rights of wine consumers and runs Wark Communications and the well-respected wine blog, Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog.
When we asked Tom Wark about the motivations behind the American Wine Consumer Coalition, he said:
The fact is, wine lovers across the country are still subjected to absurdly anti-consumer wine laws and a key reason for this is that consumers’ interests and views are not taken into account by lawmakers or regulators. Why? Because consumers have no advocates that can make their case. That ends with the creation of the American Wine Consumer Coalition.
When an industry becomes overly-regulated or controlled by one-sided interest, free-market idealism (where consumer spending serves as the ultimate voice) can no longer be counted on as adequate. Up until now, the consumer has largely been dismissed as a relevant party when decisions are made and laws passed that affect the sale and distribution of alcohol. Horray for Tom Wark and the others at the AWCC for stepping up to the plate!
If you’re interested to learn more about the American Wine Consumers Coalition, please visit their site, which launches today. To support the coalition, you can donate or join one of their membership options available for individual consumers, businesses, and associations. Individual consumers who wish to join the AWCC will not only be supporting a great cause, they will enjoy member benefits (namely in the form of discounts) that any eonophile will surely appreciate.
In the words of Tom Wark,
For the AWCC to be as effective as possible, it needs to gather under tens of thousands of wine lovers willing to band together for their own benefit and the benefit of other wine lovers. We hope to build a multi-thousand member coalition that can’t be ignored.
The first North American Wine Tourism Day is quickly approaching! The date is set for Saturday, May 11th, and there is already an impressive list of events scheduled around the country for this inagural day dedicated to promoting wine tourism.
According to our partners, Local Wine Events, who is hosting the database of scheduled events, there are currently 163 events scheduled and that number is still growing.
There are over 50 participating wine & tourism associations and as of today, there are over 2650 consumers who have signed up to receive updates about #WineTourismDay.
We think this is a great start!!
Organizer of Wine Tourism Day and the Wine Tourism Conference, Allan Wright recently was interviewed by Lynn Krielow Chamberlain of iWineRadio about the event and how wineries and organizations can participate. You can listen to the broadcast on WineFairy.Com.
On the Wine Tourism Day website you can search for events by region, add a Wine Tourism Day event you’d like to host and subscribe to our updates.
If you’re on Twitter, participating organizations and consumers are encouraged to tweet using #WineTourismDay
See you at a Wine Tourism Day event on May 11th!