It’s never been easier to present and sell your wines online than it is today, but that doesn’t mean every winery has an effective online presence. In fact, many still are unintentionally turning away customers without realizing it by making the kinds of mistakes that the rest of the web fixed years ago.

These are some of the most detrimental mistakes a winery can make in their online store – is yours making one?

Unintuitive, confusing navigation.

Site architecture that confuses or frustrates the user dooms a website for failure. This doesn’t just apply to navigation menus. Everything from the small paths a user can take on a single page, to the organization of the whole site, factors in here. A simple, easy to figure out navigation system helps make a frustration-free user experience and can improve a site’s online sales numbers by helping the user get what they’re looking for quickly.

Your users shouldn’t have to drill down multiple times in your shopping page before they can even see one wine for sale. When you walk into a store, do you need to press a button before you can see any of the red wines? No, but unfortunately, that’s how some wineries’ online shopping systems work. Obviously, that’s not a good user experience. and strangely even some big wineries are making this big mistake.

Despite having an outdated website, Sokol Blosser gets this part right. Clicking “Shop Online” in the top navigation menu takes you straight to the wines, giving you the option to filter the results for certain criteria (reds, whites, new releases, etc). This is important because it allows the user to browse the wines as generically or specifically as they want. They can see all the wines from the get-go, or they can narrow down their search for their particular interest.

Outdated, unattractive websites.

A nice wine may get better with age, but your winery’s website most certainly does not. Sadly, it’s not difficult to find wineries that have apparently not kept with the times. Shopping for wine is heavily influenced by the feeling one gets in the purchasing environment, and that applies to the online realm as well. Don’t make your users uncomfortable with an outdated, poor design.

Instead, make your site design feel open and clutter-free, and include photography that showcases the beauty of your vineyard, tasting room, and so on. You can dedicate a large section of a page on your website to a high-quality photo that spans the full width from the left side of the browser to the right side. This is a modern trend that captivates viewers and boosts sensations of pleasure in their brains – the perfect setup to encourage wine purchases.

Even more importantly, make sure your winery’s website is mobile-friendly. It has to look good and be easy to get around when viewed on a smartphone, as more and more people are viewing winery sites from their phones every year. If your site doesn’t embrace responsive design, it’s past due for an update!

Email marketing overload.

Email marketing is an excellent way to improve your wine sales, but unfortunately it’s too easy to get it wrong. Aside from content and layout issues, one of the biggest mistakes people make with these is sending far too many. Your patrons get enough of that from chain stores, and most end up unsubscribing when they get too many emails. Don’t make them unsubscribe from you!

How many is too many? Well, if you’re sending an email every day, you should probably stop – unless that’s working well for you. Aweber had this to say on the subject:

Brands that send daily emails run the risk of overwhelming their subscribers to the point where their messages go ignored.


Aweber is an excellent email marketing campaign tool, similar to Mailchimp and Active Campaign. If you want more detailed information on how people respond to a flood of emails, I recommend checking out their article here.

If you’re concerned about your subscribers forgetting you exist, remember that your subscribers would be happy to hear from you without a sales message attached. You can have a better retention rate if you provide value to your customers without any strings attached.

Sound familiar?

Is your winery’s website making any of the mistakes above? If so, it’s highly recommended that you get yourself a new design, and thankfully, website design and development is actually quite affordable nowadays when compared to how it used to be. All of the websites we make are clean, easy to navigate, and mobile-friendly.