This blog post wasn’t easy – there are a lot of really great winery website designs out there. Granted we didn’t look at every winery website (mainly just Napa & Paso Robles), there are 8,000 in the US alone! But in order for us to give an honest ranking for this list we had to considered a list of criteria that the websites must meet. The website couldn’t just be “pretty,” they had to be designed with the best web usability standards and in the best interest of the winery’s business growth.
1. Look and Feel
The website had to have it’s own seperate identy. That means that it wasn’t designed with a template and that it didn’t look like other websites across the web.
2. Homepage Photos
The homepage photos need to include four shots – the property, the tasting room, a photo with a bottle with it’s wine label and a photo of some team members.
Never underestimate the power of photography. Tasting room visitors are your main source of DTC and wine club members – and they come to your winery looking for an experience. Make sure the first thing they see when they get to your website is what they will experience during their visit.
3. Drop Down Menus
Drop down menus on the navigation bar is the most basic of web usability standards. You always want drop down menus instead of having to click on a menu option to get to the link you are looking for. You want your user to avoid having to continuesly hit the “back” button because they went in the wrong direction.
4. Wine Club Member Benefits
This is the page that is rarely designed for the user, yet most important in terms of business growth. Wineries usually overload this page with content making it hard for users to compare options. KISS – Keep it simple, Stupid.
5. Ecommerce Design
These five websites were able to make the often confusing online purchase a little easier. These websites allow for people to easily search their online store for different vintages without ever having to click the “back” button to search for more wines. This is really important if you want to make the checkout process smooth and sell more wine.
6. Automatic Disqualification
Wineries should never have a “Flash” website. This is a type of web design was popular in the mid to late 2000’s because of the ability to create movement. But smart phones are unable to view Flash websites so designers are no longer programming in that style.
Any website that had lengthly text on the homepage was not included in this list because web users do not read very much text on websites, much less on the homepage. When they get to the homepage they are just scanning the page looking for a link that will take them to where they want to go.
If the website’s layout design is very narrow, it was disqaulified because it is not optimizing web real estate. Most websites with narrow width tend to be old websites that were designed when desktop screens had much smaller screens and poor resolution.
Shale Oak Winery
From a usability standpoint the site was very easy to use. The wine club benefits are very clear and navigating through the ecommerce portion was very simple.
The website makes us feel like the tasting room will be just as calming of experience. And that their wines are as well thought out as their website.
Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery
We love the crisp colors on this site. Everything seems so luxurious with this color palette.
The photo of the owners laughing on the homepage creates the impression that this winery has a sense of humor. The design really protrays that experience and most likely attracts the type of visitors that are looking for that experience.
We love their ecommerce design because it has the beautiful bottle shots and is easy to scan.
The combination of the great photos and ease of use makes this the ideal website for the customer.
The bottom half the homepage uses photos and graphics to emphasize the links – instead of just text. This technique is best because some people are more likely to click a link that has graphical representation rather than just text.
Duckhorn is a mid-high end wine and this website looks the part. That beautiful shot of the estate is just breathtaking.
This site is also a great example of a multilabel winery. You can see on the very top Duckhorn’s other labels and links to those sites at the top.
Louis M. Martini
The video on the homepage is so smooth and graceful. The page also makes use of the real estate and includes appropriate calls to action like “Check out our Cabs” “Shop our Selection of Tasting Room Exclusive Wines” and “Join our Wine Club.” So simple, yet can be so effective in increasing your sales.
If you are looking for a website design, we would be happy to explore options for you. Contact us today.