The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2010

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FROM THE EDitoR A Web Presence Is a Must In January I was asked to moderate a panel on new media at the Italian Trade Commission’s VINO 2010 in New York City. The thrust of the discussion was how to reach potential wine customers using the Internet. The stellar panel included bloggers, new age marketing stars and social media experts. One of the topics was the importance of websites. When researching wines and spirits online, I’m frequently amazed that there are still many wineries, importers and marketers that don’t have websites . . . and there are many others that might as well not have websites, since what they have now is, if anything, counterproductive. In the age of instant information, having a website is basic good business. In the old days people would phone or actually come by the winery if they wanted to fi nd out more about you. Now, all they have to do is Google (or Bing) you. If your website doesn’t pop up in the listings, they’ll just move on to someone else—someone who is more accessible. And what should they see when your web- site opens? Sure, the pretty pictures are nice, but you have to show them what it is that makes you special—what it is that will make them want to read more, to get to know you better. It’s good to introduce the key players in your business: the founder, the founder’s family, the winemaker, the vineyard manager, the dog. This puts a human face on a bottle of fermented grape juice. Spirits producers should do the same. It’s also really important to accurately list and picture each product that you are currently selling. It’s nice to know that your 1993 Chenin Blanc won a gold medal at some judging, but it’s much more important to describe the 2008 Chenin you just released. What does the bottle look like, what does it taste like and how much is it going to cost? Speaking as an editor, posting photos of your bottles and labels on your website makes it much easier for the press to cover your products; and remember that print media need high-resolution images. I would also like to know where I can buy your product, either as a consumer or as a retailer or on-premise buyer. A trade section listing your broker, whole- saler and, for foreign producers, your U.S. importer is also a must. Your website should be all about making it easy for consumers or trade to buy what you are selling. It should tell your story, create an aura around your wines or spirits and then make them completely accessible. The website is your salesman in cyber- space. Make it attractive and keep it up to date. PHOTO: CATHY TWIGG-BLUMEL

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