Wine Information: from Scarcity to Abundance //php get_posflags()?>
Posted on | December 16, 2009
Written by | Ian Griffith
If you’ve spent time searching for labels and wine information you will recognize that access to this information is variable. Wineries and importers assume that you will come to their website where they may provide trade-oriented content resources. In many cases the information is missing, or more frustrating has been built into a flash presentation that doesn’t allow for copying. At best your quest is time consuming and no-one, least of all the winery, knows what the finished product will look like.
The success of your ecommerce venture depends on your ability to merchandize your products. Yet, the prevailing mindset in the wine industry is of companies that protect their content and hoard their intellectual property. The result is a barrier for retailers who attempt to sell online; either you invest in the labor to track down the content you need, or your website does a less then optimal job at promoting your products.
Imagine a future where online wine stores have easy access to product information. Wine labels, tasting notes, technical specifications, even reviews and ratings are widely and accurately distributed. In this vision of the future wineries and importers are making this information available as soon as products are released. This content then circulates through service providers whose mission is to distribute it to retailers, marketing sites, bloggers and bulletin boards. Anywhere a consumer finds mention of a wine it includes consistent, accurate information that originated from the supplier.
If this sounds a little fantastic you would be forgiven for doubting it could ever happen in this industry. But looking beyond wine labels for the moment, prominent retailers Amazon, eBay and Best Buy promote the distribution of their product catalogs as open APIs (application programming interfaces). Web developers can import it, display it on their own sites and, most importantly, sell from it. By being the source of product content, these retailers attach rules on its use that help drive sales for their business. For instance Best Buy requires that if the developer site offers ecommerce, Best Buy needs to be one of the options. By opening up access to valuable assets that were being hoarded on their servers, these retailers have greatly increased the reach of their products. Amazon announced last year that their web services (API) now consumes more bandwidth than all their global websites.
Back in the wine business, 2 companies recently announced open API’s that will provide wine information to various websites partners. Cruvee, based in Napa, has been providing social media monitoring for wineries. They announced a new service where wineries can control how their wines are represented online. Cruvee then distributes it to marketing and retailer websites. Adegga, based in Portugal, is a wine review site that spawned the AVIN, a universal identifier for wine. Adegga, with the help of Catavino plans to turn the AVIN into an open project where wine notes from bloggers and review sites around the world can be linked.
Both projects are in their early stages and have a way to go before they can offer the level of product information available on Best Buy’s catalog; but this is where it starts. These projects point the way to a future with abundant and accessible wine information.