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Oct. 5, 2022

Designing Better Wine Sales w/ Katherine Cole & Jon Krauss, Vin Agency

Designing Better Wine Sales w/ Katherine Cole & Jon Krauss, Vin Agency

“Wine is an emotional sale, not a rational one.” making storytelling and the immersive nature of web design critical for DTC wine sales


“Wine is an emotional sale, not a rational one.” according to Katherine Cole, Communications Director of Vin Agency, making storytelling and the immersive nature of web design critical for DTC wine sales, according to Katherine and Jon Krauss, Creative Director of Vin Agency. They explain how website design can improve brand messaging and create more DTC sales by making websites discoverable, drawing the consumer in, and making it easy to purchase once the thirst is built.  


Detailed Show Notes: 

Jon’s background - founded Vin in 2009

Katherine’s background - “recovering wine journalist,” has written 5 books, was a wine journalist for the Oregonian Newspaper, hosts The Four Top podcast

Vin is a creative agency and brand consultancy for wineries

  • The core focus is custom website design
  • Winery focus gives Vin deep expertise in the space

Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) - how people find a website

  • Has technical elements - e.g., meta descriptions, site maps - Vin uses WordPress that has plug-ins to make this easier
  • Has communication elements - using SEO keywords (e.g., Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir) and being strategic around where the terms appear (e.g., in headlines, the size of the words, where they appear on the page)
  • E.g., Hibou - re-launched their website Sept 2021, pageviews went up >400%, new site visitors up >200% (shows SEO working), and average session duration up >140% (showing the storytelling is working)

Wine is more of an emotional purchase, less rationale, so more immersive website experiences are powerful

  • E.g., Casino Mile Ranch - didn’t have solid website engagement and wasn’t getting their story across; after the website re-launch, customers have kept coming back to the site

E-commerce design is critical for wine websites

  • E.g., Seavey Vineyards - their e-commerce was awkward and difficult to navigate (they use WineDirect); Vin re-designed it using WordPress, and it now drills into products to see different formats (e.g., magnums, etc.) and vintages leading to +80% increase in large format sales
  • The ability to customize checkout flow depends on the e-comm vendor (Commerce 7 and Offset/Figure are Vin’s favorites for this, Offset particularly for allocated wineries)

New technologies, e.g., chat boxes and texting, can improve performance but depends on the type of winery

  • E.g., Silt sales rocketed up when they launched a new website in conjunction with text messaging which linked to the site

Visitation/hospitality best practices

  • Immersing visitors to the feeling of being at the winery
  • Having photography without people in it helps people imagine that they are in it

Website costs

  • It can range from $5-100k depending on the size of the winery and the scope of the website, and the normal range is ~$12-30k
  • Some sites can be built over time
  • Better to start with a wine-focused developer, people who try non-wine template sites often come to Vin because their e-commerce doesn’t work properly

Highest ROI areas

  • Eliminate dead ends on the site for the path to purchase
  • Create a call to action at the bottom of each page

Website trends for wineries

  • Some language cues being used with consumer psychology in mind, e.g., “discover” vs. “home page”
  • Scroll animation
  • Drone videos and videos in more creative ways
  • “Photography will never go out of style” some luxury wineries use immersive art photography


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