Wineries and Websites: Surviving in the Digital Age

Branding for Wineries

Your brand is much more than just your wine. Chances are, you already know that. The work that wineries put into the appearance of their labels, logo, and tasting room collateral pieces shows that they recognize the importance of branding. Everything has to be connected, with design components that are consistent and complementary across each of the different components. Very few successful wineries fail to promote consistent branding at their vineyard and in their tasting room. As long as it is printed, the branding remains consistent and seamlessly executed.

For a few reasons, everything falls apart in the digital world. A large number of winery websites use outdated layouts and tacky graphics. Main information pieces such as phone number or address are missing or hard to find, and sometimes there’s not even a logo. What could cause such a disconnect?

Well, time, for one. Wineries are small businesses, and the owners are often too focused on making great wine to work on their digital branding. Since winery ownership tends to skew older, the management team may not recognize the importance of it, either. Web design isn’t the least expensive, either- some wineries believe the price tag isn’t worth it when that money can be invested elsewhere around the winery.

Whatever the reason for not going digital, it is a mistake. According to the 2019 State of the Wine Industry Report, one of the biggest opportunity for family wineries is optimizing their digital brand. The report states, “your winery needs to find new growth and new consumers, and they aren’t going to come from the present tasting room approach”. This is especially true when looking at the fasting growing markets. According to the New York Post, Millennials are taking a liking to wine significantly earlier than other generations and have a better understanding of wine.


Using Digital to Sell Wine

An optimized, responsive website is imperative to facilitating traffic to your winery. According to Harris Interactive 36% of consumers consult a company website prior to making an in-store purchase, and Forbes reports that websites are becoming more and more important to the success of brick-and-mortar businesses. Even if online purchasing is not enabled, winery websites should be treated as gateways to the tasting room and to the wineries’ social platforms. This is usually the first experience that a visitor will have with your brand, so consistency of message and design from the site to the tasting room is imperative to a favorable experience. Websites should also be used to facilitate online reviews, which have a very real effect on your websites rankings on search engines and the likelihood of your business getting shown as a local listing for different wine-related search terms. Your ratings could have an effect on the number of tasting room visitors you receive as well. The chart below is taking data from Amazon orders, but the findings can be applied to tasting room visits and bottle purchases.

Buying behavior effected by star ranking on review sites

Another key takeaway from the Forbes report was the way Americans are introduced to wine; 30% start drinking wine after being introduced from a friend, and 17% from a partner. Given many of these new customers are digital-savvy Millennials, connecting vineyard experiences to their online social circle is a gateway to more customers. How many times do you see your patrons taking pictures of themselves drinking wine, or of their group of friends enjoying their wine? Does any of your branding make their picture, or do you have a filter made that they can use on Snapchat or Facebook?

Speaking of, is your winery getting familiar with social media? According to a report by the Grapevine Magazine, social media has the highest ROI of any other marketing channel for wineries and boasts impressive reach. With as much work that goes into building a seamless tasting room experience, the various aspects of the journey should be documented and shared on social media to entice prospective customers to visit. This also works to get repeat traffic from followers, according to Chadwick Martin Bailey. Across Facebook and Twitter, social media followers are more likely to buy from your brand and recommend your brand, especially if you regularly interact with your followers.

social followers more likely to promote and purchase from brands they follow

The future is here, and with the number of resources available there is no reason for wineries to continue to avoid going digital. Though the upfront investments of time and money can seem daunting, the decision will have significant returns so long as the winery continues regularly posting on social media, updating their website, and innovating their online offerings as they get more and more comfortable with digital.

About the Author

Baylen McCarthy is a marketing consultant and travel blogger based in Hampton Roads, Virginia. His work includes web design, search engine optimization, and digital advertising services, among other marketing solutions. If you’re interested in getting in touch with Baylen, shoot him an email or leave him a message.