12 Essential Features every (small) Winery Website needs
Own a winery and looking to get noticed? Here's a list of features every winery website should have
A winery's website serves as a crucial platform for showcasing their products and connecting with customers. To ensure that your winery's website stands out from the competition and effectively engages visitors, there are several key features that every winery should include. In this article, we will explore the top 10 essential features that every winery website should include.
1. Your Story
The thing that sets you apart from every other winery making the same wines as you in your region is your WHY. Why do you do what you do?
How did you get there? Is there a family history? What obstacles did they overcome and how? How has the last generation changed the way the winery works? What were the main turning points in your winery's story? People want to know. It's not a secret that bad news sells papers and by providing some authenticity in your story (we lost 70% of our grapes to hail in XXX) , you'll get yourself remembered and stand out.
2. Downloadable PDF Versions of Technical Sheets
One of the most important features a winery website should offer is downloadable PDF versions of technical sheets for the wines currently on sale. These technical sheets should provide detailed information about the wines, including tasting notes, food pairings, and aging potential. A simple webpage is not enough, as a wine events organiser, I know how annoying it is when I need that information and am forced to do a copy paste and then spend my time updating the formatting. Creating a simple PDF file which carries on your own branding and clearly shows the most essential information is essential and leaves the right impression.
3. Alcohol and Residual Sugar Level
While it is not necessary to delve too deeply into all the numbers (soil pH? Not essential), including the alcohol and residual sugar levels of your wines can be incredibly useful for professionals and wine enthusiasts. These indicators provide valuable insights into the style and characteristics of the wines, and are the numbers that are asked for time after time at any professional tasting (especially in Germany - they love data!). By having these on your website to start off with, you're making the job of a sommelier or presenter working with your wines so much easier.
4. Exact Location and Terroir
Since wine is intricately linked to its terroir, showing the exact location of your vineyards on your website is a big plus for wine professionals looking to really understanding the essence of your wines.
Including a map on the technical sheet or a dedicated section highlighting the vineyard's location, especially in the case of single cru wines, helps to establish a sense of place and authenticity. If you can also show the differences in soils, you'll gain even more points.
5. Up-to-Date News
Keeping your website's visitors informed and engaged is crucial. What sort of an impression does it leave when the "news" is 3 years old? Blog posts don't need to be long but are and important way to also improve your SEO. Google prefers websites that are regularly updated and have materials which are liked and shared.
One very easy blog post would be a roundup at the end of each harvest, summarising the season, how the harvest went, and what you are looking forward to. It might not have been brilliant but life isn't - adding some authentic news (not to mention a face or two!) to your website builds trust and credibility. This personal touch helps to create a connection between your winery and its audience, after all people buy from people.
6. Lists of Distribution Partners
If your winery has solid partnerships with distributors or retailers, why not make them public? As a distributor looking for wines I can source in the EU and the UK, I love it when it's easy for me to find out who I can talk to to buy your wines.
Including a dedicated section that lists where your wines can be found helps potential customers locate your products easily and solves the most asked question in tasting rooms. This feature not only promotes your wines but also highlights the credibility and reach of your distribution network.
7. Tasting Room Information
If your winery has a tasting room or offers wine tastings, make it as easy as possible for someone to book. You need detailed information about this experience including days they are offered, minimum numbers for groups, opening hours, reservation policies, and any special events or tours that visitors can participate in.
So many times I hear from people who want to book tours, they ask me for recommendations (of small, authentic producers!) but end up booking with larger producers just because their emails weren't answered, no-one picked up the phone and a larger producer down the road had a clear online booking system. It might be that that group of 4 people will only buy a case of wine when they leave but it might also be the start of your next export market, wedding booking or something else.
8. Online Wine Shop
Without setting up a whole shopify store (which is the best platform for e-commerce if you're dealing with overseas markets and many products), there are many options for setting up an easy web-shop to highlight your prices and special deals. If you don't have the logistical capacity to manage the packing and shipping aspects of an online shop, it will at least serve as a way for customers to buy and pay for wines that they then pass by to pick up.
9. Wine Club Membership
Offering a wine club membership is an excellent way to cultivate customer loyalty. It doesn't need to be a paid feature. You can advertise the club on your website but then really offer people to opt in when they visit you in the cellar. This membership can be nurtured as a more engaged public. These are people who on the whole already love your product. They're just ready to buy even more from you. Too often do people visit wineries, buy a case and then never return. A membership which is nurtured with a monthly mail will keep the interest up. Tell them what is happening in your winery, which export markets you're visiting next, share some insider info, favourite recipes, special discounts and exclusive offers, not to mention offers on tastings and experiences booked for the coming season.
10. Wine Education Resources
To benefit your SEO think about including a page about your region and the grape varieties you cultivate. Include articles, videos, or downloadable guides, which can be useful for anyone wanting to understand more about wine. Add in your own take on things and put your wines and winery into a larger picture. These resources can cover topics such as wine regions, grape varieties, winemaking techniques, and food and wine pairing suggestions.
11. A who's who
People buy from people. Just take a look at the difference in reach of a social media post with a person and one of a bunch of grapes. We all love faces.
Include a section on your website where you show the faces behind the wine. The wine-maker, cellar hand, tasting room manager, export manager. People feel connected to faces that are familiar to them and connection fuels sales. Add in a paragraph about them, when they joined the winery, what they bring to your organisation and what they love about your place.
12. Awards and scores
Has a well-respected expert tasted your wines? Perhaps you've been included in a guide? a feature or even a blog post? Talk about it with a blog post and some social media content. Confirmation of your brilliance is the first thing you should be talking about and include on any website...
.... and then don't forget to integrate this into your social media channels
You might find that social media is a toll (and it can be) but it's the way so many people judge businesses. The key is to connect to the customer. Let them know some information that will be interesting to them, that reflects your why and your way of doing things, the beauty of your land and the greatness of your wines.
I have a friend who grew his IG to over 5000 followers just by posting once a week. Every Sunday night. Nothing less, nothing more. If you feel like you're not getting any traction from social media, just stick at it consistently. Produce content that is interesting, ask questions and post stories to increase your exposure.
By incorporating these 12 essential features into your small winery's website, you'll be able to increase your rankings, make sommeliers and wine experts happier when they can find all the information they need, and bring in more visitors to your winery. Fresh content and a user-friendly interface to ensure a positive user experience. There are so many platforms around now with AI web design that making a website is less of a burden and more fun than it ever used to be.
If you think you need help with your communication strategy and would like a website and communication audit, feel free to reach out.