Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Facts, Ma'am, Just the Facts

I’ve been away for a couple of weeks, down south visiting another national capital and tuning up the golf game in anticipation of sunny, warmer days here in Ottawa.

I avoided checking email and Canadian news while I was away. Disconnecting for a while surely does have its charms, although coming home to hundreds and hundreds of emails is somewhat discouraging. And some kind of orange wave apparently is about to swamp Canadian politics.

One goody that I came across while catching up on things was this commentary by Decanter’s Andrew Jeffords, in which he bemoans the abysmal state of winery websites.

I couldn’t agree more.

If it isn’t already so, winery websites are rapidly becoming THE primary medium for how consumers learn more about an individual wine, particularly when portable web technology is at so many fingertips.

As Jeffords points out, people who take the time to visit a winery’s website want to know some fundamental things about the wines: the terroir, the grapes, vinification techniques, tasting notes, and food suggestions. Pretty pictures, music, and stories about winemaker’s dogs…these are all OK as add-ons but if you don’t have the fundamentals on each of your wines, you’re wasting our time.  Canadian wineries are some of the worst offenders.

The second great sin of many winery websites is stale information. I cannot count the number of wineries that have made the “one-shot” effort to launch a website, only to down tools at that point, with their latest vintage reports anywhere from one to ten years out-of-date.

The formula for a good winery website is simple: tell us about the wine, all the wine, and nothing but the wine. Keep it up to date.

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