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Wine 2.0 Just Another Webstore?

Wine 2.0 Just Another Webstore?

by Tim Elliott on November 14, 2006

Seems the Wine 2.0 meme is spreading and Andrea over at Inertia Beverage’s REthink blog posted her thoughts. The part that struck me was this:

“These companies are changing the world of wine through technologies that are helping to expand the direct sales channel for the wine industry.”

Perhaps it’s just semantics (or marketing) but I don’t think Wine (or Web) 2.0 is all about selling stuff. Sure, connecting the wine consumer with the source is part of it, but it’s not the whole enchilada. What’s happening is the customer is getting a lot more information through these online social networks and wineries are no longer in control of the message. The smart ones are joining the conversation about their wines online via blogs and podcasts. So I agree the times are changing and Wine/Web 2.0 is for real, but it’s a lot more than just eCommerce.

To expand and adapt O’Reilly’s examples in the context of wine:

Web 1.0 –> Web 2.0
Winery websites –> Winery blogs & podcasts
Email marketing –> Search engine marketing
Fax in order form –> Online store
Control message –> Open conversation

Another view was posted by James over at the Scurgy blog; seems we are in agreement that it’s way too soon to know what will work in this space or not.

Finally, Joel over at Vivi’s Wine Journal also chimes in that I have a “Wine 2.0 section” now. Great idea, Joel; I’ll have to put that up on the menu 😉 He also makes some good points in the comments to my last post.

You can also join the conversation here or on your blog…

  • Tim,
    I don’t think that Andrea is just focused on e-commerce – she see the social media that connects wine customers (not just consumers but also the trade and press) – sales obviously is our focus but the “sale” of information and contact between wineries and CUSTOMERS is also key to our mandate. We see this sharing as a major component of our wineries future and ability to leverage a world audience through our tools and other Wine 3.0 companies.

    Inertia – Powering the Wine Revolution

    —Paul Mabray – CEO

  • I thought you had created a Wine 2.0 category. My bad…

    Inertia is Wine 3.0? Oh boy, everyone has to be cutting edge…

  • Allow me to begin by saying that my technical expertise is as advanced as is my studies of nuclear physics,which in nonexistent, but from my sense of Web 2.0, it places the responsibility of information back onto the consumer. If my sense of this is accurate, I am one happy camper because consumers used to rely on “experts” to guide us through any given topic assuming that we accepted that their knowledge was the only accurate knowledge available. Now, what Web 2.0 does is allow the consumer to don their “expert” hat and: research a product without having to do the legwork of actually sifting through thousands of sites, gain direct access to purchase the product, and finally, turn around and contribute to the bank of wine information by actually contributing their experience of the product. In the end, this gives the consumer an inordinate amount of power that they lacked previous to the Web 2.0 experience. Add this to the 87% of teenagers who are currently using the Internet and you may have an incredibly powerful tool that will most likely gain credence not only with future wine generations, but also with wine newbies who want information presented in a variety of different ways so that they may pick and choose the best medium for their tastes. From both my novice tech experience, I feel that Web 2.0 will revolutionize our means of interacting with information. Am I even in the ballpark?

  • The point that Andrea brings up is valid; for the wineries and wine distributors, web 2.0 is about new avenues of sales. But for the wine consumer, it’s all about community, organizing and sifting though information, interaction, discovery, and learning.

    Saying “wine 2.0” is just one without the other would be an oversimplification. Because the industry is driven by the wine, it ultimately boils down to getting the wine into the hands of people who want it. With the development of “web 2.0”, more people are being exposed to wines they would like, but just didn’t know about.

    To a large degree, wine communities and web applications are beginning to even out the playing field. People are beginning to make choices for themselves, rather than being told what to like by wineries with aggressive marketing campaigns.

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  • Hi Ryan,

    You left out “being told what to like by powerful critics” and “limited shelf space” as a crucial impediment to choice.

    These are far more ubiquitous than any winery ad campaign I’ve seen. 🙂

  • Tim

    Thanks for the clarification Paul; sounds like we are both in agreement on Wine 2.0, but I’m not sure if I buy the “3.0” label just yet.

    Great idea, Joel, as I already have all the Wine 2.0 stuff in a category… 2 minutes later, it’s on the main nav on the header 😉

    Gabriella: you are totally in the ballpark; I love the essence of your comment that the experts are now anyone with a passion for a subject and the means to express themselves online. For example, Ryan and you are as much of an influence on my Iberian wine buying than the Wine Spectator or Advocate; more so, probably. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Totally agree with you Ryan; I was trying to point that out in the post. There is a balance between community and commerce in Wine 2.0. At least in my book.

  • Hi Tim. I totally agree with you. Wine2.0 is not focused on selling stuff – it’s about letting people decide for themselves what they want to buy. The primary focus of a community is collecting and sharing knowledge. Everything else, including sales and recommendations, is ancillary to this focus.

    By the way, I’m not sure about the Wine 3.0 concept either. Afterall, recommendations are what the collective knowledge is used for, isn’t it?

  • Tim,
    Sorry – I didn’t mean to allude to the fact that we are 3.0. We clearly are 2.0 and sales and marketing focused. However, where we bridge the gap is that we are working on tools to integrate into the 3.0 community. The key is that we aggregate the wineries and give them access to the 3.0 changes coming soon!

    Inertia – Powering the Wine Revolution

    —Paul Mabray – CEO

  • Tim


    I’m looking forward to Wine 2.0 now and will welcome version 3 when the time comes. W3 is too much scifi for me, at present. Good to see you are laying the groundwork for the next generation of wine lovers (a.k.a. my kids 🙂


  • What Josh said. Perfect.

    Wineries CAN control their message in the most meaningful way possible: by being good and being out there and communicating openly.

    This isn’t like the game where you whisper something down a line and see what the message is at the other end. There are cross connects and feedback paths and search engines which serve to reinforce and correct a message (in conjunction with your personal BS detector.)

    And it’s damn fast.

  • Tim

    Right on, El Jefe! What you and some other innovative wineries are doing with blogs and podcasts is exactly how to build the kind of lasting relationships with customers and become a part of the conversation about your wines. Yea, some folks might not like your juice and post about it, but this gives you a great, real-time feedback loop to make better wines. From what I have read about Twisted Oak, you are already making great wines and by embracing the blogosphere you are gettin’ the word out here at next to nothing in cost. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment.

  • Wekk, OK, thanks! – but it is more complicated than that, because relationships are complicated. What turns me on doesn’t turn you on. I can love a winery and its incredible juice while hardly ever interacting with a single person (for me, Ridge) or it can be about both the juice and the people (Zaca Mesa). And that relationship can evolve over time.

    I think the best we can do is to simply be true to ourselves and our dharma and project that to the world. Blogs and podcasts are arguably nothing more than an amplification of the proverbial soapbox. The means, not the end.

    Cheers! – j

  • Tim

    True, El Jefe. Maybe I did over simplify. I’d still like to see Ridge blog even though I share your love for the juice. It would certainly make me pay more attention to their story and I’d probably pick up an extra case every now and then…

  • Tim,

    I agree with you that wine 2.0 is not solely about wineries selling stuff. It’s about wineries interacting with consumers, and consumers interacting with other consumers in a marketplace setting to provide objective information about wine. The objective information will help consumers make a decision whether to purchase a certain wine, and wineries’ online stores will provide the location to buy it. Therefore, the two need to be closely intertwined.

    The creation of this new marketplace setting will involve blogs, message boards, user-generated reviews, and a seamless way to purchase wine directly from the winery.

    I believe Inertia Beverage Group sees this trend, and that’s why I have decided to work with them to create a new marketplace for this sort of interaction.

    Let’s let the best wines float to the top based on user-reviews, rather than have them forced down our throat by powerful wine critics.


  • The exchanging of comments on this post alone are a testament to what Web 2.0 is all about. Using the internet as a sales medium conveniently places a product in select areas of your site while allowing the customers at the end of the day to interact without the pressure to purchase. If you can provide the best platform for customers to interact and develop a following, sales will come.

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