Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wine Shop Websites

The other day, I received an email from the folks at Tinto Fino, a terrific wine shop in the East Village specializing in Spanish Wines, announcing that they had finally set up their website. I say finally not because it was a ridiculous wait (I assume setting up a wine shop website does take some time), but because I had been eagerly waiting to see Tinto Fino's inventory on paper. It was well worth the wait, as I am very impressed with the website. While the website is not perfect (I would like to see at least some tasting notes on their wines, many of which are difficult to research, and there are none), what I really liked is the home page. The first thing a visitor to Tinto Fino's website sees is a large map of Spain showing all of the country's wine regions. Even better, clicking on each region on the map will show all of the wines that Tinto Fino carries from that region.

I wish other wine shop websites had a map feature like Tinto Fino's website. While most people, including myself, do not need a map to tell you that Cataluna is in the northeast corner of Spain and Andalucia in southern Spain, there is something about seeing the region on a map makes me appreciate where the wine was made even more. It makes me wonder about the climate in the region, the lives of the people living there, and the food they eat. For me, a map romanticizes the experience of purchasing wine.

The concept of a clickable map on Tinto Fino's website made me think even more about wine shop websites. I rarely order wine online. I tend to buy at most two bottles at a time and as a novice and I usually require the assistance of a knowledgeable salesperson. However, I do enjoy surfing the websites of my favorite wine shops. I find that shop websites can be great learning tools. Since I tend to purchase small production wines, any information offered on websites is extremely helpful to me since I am unlikely to see the same wines elsewhere.

I love to research the wines I purchase, so it would be great when I can return from a wine shop with my purchases, visit the wine shop's website, and find all information I want to know on the wine: information about the producer, the region, the vintage, and the wine itself. Unfortunately, I have yet to find the perfect shop website, but my dream wine shop website would combine many of the highlights of certain websites. My dream wine shop website would be full of detailed maps, regional histories, tasting notes, and food pairing suggestions. It would be a one stop shop for everything I would ever need to know on the wines I have purchased from the shop.

What is your favorite wine shop website? What would your the wine shop website of your dreams look like?


maleta said...

I have wine blog on serbian languange.

But i have one wine script on english

visit and click on links near small pictures.

Wine Scamp said...

The best wine shop website I access regularly is for Spec's, a Texas liquor and wine store chain. I don't purchase wine over the web, so and things don't count for me.

Spec's website is the best I access because all of the other ones are so godawful. I agree with you that an online catalog of your stock could be a challenging thing to keep on the web, but jeezle-petes! What a value to the customer!

What I would like to see in a wine shop website is pretty similar to your wishlist, though it would include current stock information (so I wouldn't have to drive all the way out to whereever just to find that My Bottle was sold out...)

Great post -- this is a pet peeve of mine as well.

Eddie H. said...

Thanks, wine scamp! I agree your comment about wine shops having up to date inventories on their websites. One of the few times I ordered a wine online, I had a very specific wine in mind that I had only found on one shop's website. I ordered the wine from the website, and the next day one bottle was delivered. It was only after it was delivered that I determined the shop's inventory on the website was not up to date for the shop had sent me a bottle that they deemed 'similar' to the one I ordered. Would have been nice of them to tell me they didn't have the bottle I wanted in stock before they delivered another bottle! Your comment got me all worked up; I think I need a glass of wine now...

Anonymous said...

One word if you want to see a good wine shop web site: K&L. Actually I don't know if that is a word, but the web site is great. Check it out. Inventory always current, and you can order for will call or shipping right on the spot.

Eddie H. said...

Thanks! I've heard great things about K&L, but have never checked them out. You're right, they have a great website; the selection is great, too. I'll definitely be browsing this one tonight.