The Grape Identity Crisis //php get_posflags()?>
Posted on | March 11, 2010
Written by | admin
In the past month, I’ve been doing some work with our master grape list. I knew it was a super huge task, but the more I learned and dove into it, the bigger the project revealed itself to be. One of the huge issues with keeping content about wines clean and streamlined is that there are so many names for grapes that it’s tough and often confusing.
Some very common duplicates are Syrah and Shiraz; Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris; Grenache and Garnacha. However, it by no means ends there (if it did, this would be easy!). Beyond that are many hundreds and thousands of duplicate names.
Let me introduce you to my good friend Muscat,the king of many, many, many names. On top of being called nearly everything under the sun, there are about 9 different varieties that actually take on a variation of the name Muscat and are different grapes. The rest of Muscat names are just synonyms. I have no problem with calling yourself Moscato in Italy, Muscat D’Alsace in France and Gelber Muskateller in Germany, but this all ends up creating confusion when you want to straighten out information.
So how should you handle grape names on your website? If you elect to make a distinction between wines named Syrah and wines named Shiraz, where do you stop? Keeping synonym names can often make it difficult to provide good navigation on your website that connects all grapes taking on different names. It’s easier with Syrah and Shiraz, but when you’re dealing with something like Muscat, it gets increasingly difficult and confusing.
Recently, we started implementing dynamic navigation that would allow customers to find the exact country, region or grape that they were searching for quite easily. From their initial search criteria, they can get more and more specific to find exactly what they want. However, it’s not always the most advantageous thing to list out all the grapes in your inventory for a customer to pick from. Left navigation or a drop down could be daunting to look at with so many options. It’s much easier for your customers to look at a list of the 10 most popular varietals. Certainly there will be specialty shoppers looking for wines made from varietals that are less common but the bulk of shoppers will be most interested in the top 10-20 grapes and a full list can be provided on a secondary page.
Whether the navigation is provided on the left hand side or via drop down menus depends on the layout and feel of your site. It’s often a case-by-case decision as to what works best. Once that is determined, there is more to consider, such as levels of navigation where there are parent grapes with others listed below them. Take for instance wines made with a Bordeaux blend. That could be a parent option in your navigation but Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the other Bordeaux grapes could be listed below, allowing your customer to further customize their search results.
Overall, the process of thinning the herd of grape names and adding dynamic navigation that allows for an easier customer experience is something to shoot for and implement. The process could garner more positive experiences, more sales, and even more repeat customers.