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Wine and Technology – vintank’s 12 predictions

Vintank has just produced a new wine marketing technology report called To-and-Fro.

It contains an eclectic review of what vintank has been up to over the last two years. They also hinted at some new stuff they’ll be publishing shortly including a new iPhone app review, another big wine internet report, and a Social Gaming app call VinPass.

But their 2011 Predictions were the most interesting and controversial, here’s what they were.

vintank signWine Internet Predictions 2011

1.Wine eCommerce continues to grow

Wine e-commerce is the fastest growing DTC channel for wineries. This focus will continue to grow and many wineries, even the largest enterprise wineries, will see tremendous growth in the channel and will reinvest for greater returns. Expect better customer service, more innovative marketing and promotional activities, and interesting spins on winery direct e-commerce.

Agree – eCommerce is the fastest growing channel for most industries so it’s not an unsafe prediction ;).

2. Wine Social Media meets Wineries

  • 50% of US wineries (3000+) will be participating in social media in some capacity (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, other).
  • 10% of US wineries (600+) will become proficient in 2011 in leveraging the medium for increased branding, customer engagement, customer service, customer acquisition, PR, and more.
  • 0.25% (15) will start basic SCRM (Social CRM).

Agree – that more wineries get their heads around social media. Still I think the traditional “make it and they will come” approach will continue to prevail.

3. Wine Sales Websites

The implosion of wine flash sales will start in 2011. Sites like winestilsoldout.com, winaccess, winewoot, cinderallawine, gilt.com, ruelala.com and lot18.com.

Disagree – the death of discounting just ain’t going to happen. The likes of Groupon and Facebook Deals is actually giving the discount/coupon even more momentum. The easiest thing to do is discount rather than provide greater service and selection so it’s the fall back position for many a marketer. I do agree that wineries will be less interested in liquidating stock at low prices as the economy recovers and wine demand comes back but there will be no implosion.

4. Wine Social Commerce

We will see a wine social commerce platform emerge in 2011. Some wineries might even experiment with it.

Agree – though I think snooth should be doing this better. Or cellartracker or even wine-searcher. They already have big communities and could add functionality to their site that encourages engagement rather than just price comparison, reviews or search.

5. Winery Mobile Apps

Mobile apps have been mostly consumer facing and provided little if any value to wineries. In 2011 that will turn (heck, they need to make money). Wine apps will become more social in 2011.

Agree – mobile and social (and local) will be the big trends of 2011.

6. Wine Data Cleaning Continues

We predict that you will see wine label scanning tools get to 65% in 2011. Wine apps are sick of dirty data or data that are only used to drive traffic to other peoples sites. Expect to see more attention on wine data from the tech sector in 2011.

Unsure – it seems so obvious to the wine technology industry that this should happen and yet despite some courageous attempts the uptake by consumers seems slow. I hope vintank is right but I fear they are just too optimistic about all but the wine lovin’ early tech adopters out there.

7. QR Codes

QR codes will gain a significant foothold in the wine industry in 2011 with many wineries printing them on back labels and marketing materials.

Agree – label recognition aside this is the best way to connect a consumer to information about your wine in-store.

8. Wine finds Social Gaming

The social gaming outlets will improve the level of engagement opportunities wineries will have with their consumers as well as give a clear indication of consumer purchasing patterns. This will all start with the launch of the first social game for our industry, VinPass.

Agree – and I’m very curious about VinPass. There does seem to be plenty of ways of making a fascinating subject an interesting game.

9. The Wine Writer: if you can’t beat them

In 2011 you will see the emergence of professional wine writers entering the digital space. The ones that take the time to understand digital will elevate in mass awareness. The ones who don’t will be inundated by what they call “mob mentality” and constant barrage of public criticism that will chip away at their credibility to this and the next generation of wine consumers.

Agree – the newspapers are slowly going bankrupt as are many of their related cousins e.g. Yellow Pages. The only possible exception to this is the iPad, kindle type subscription models but its early days for this business model.

10. Like vs pts

In with the new…types of reviews. The Facebook “Like” function is a game changer in more ways than this one slide can demonstrate. We predict more etailers and online platforms will start using new systems for recommending wine. Three of the most influential review sites are facebook, cellartracker, and twitter.

Maybe – it makes more sense but again I’m skeptical about the wine consumer’s willingness to uptake something new. Perhaps a better prediction will be that the start of changes in the systems of recommending wine will start in 2011 in earnest. Then in about 5-10 years time it finally takes hold.

11. Wine content creation

There will be a new push in content curation for wine sites in 2011 due to the flood of wine information on the internet.

Agree – if wine consumers continue to move away from traditional magazine subscription models to blogs and online free magazines then there will be demand for savvy curation. Can it be supported by advertising though?

12. CRM

CRM will actually start to materialize in 2011 and the industry will begin leveraging it for the benefit of DTC sales.

Disagree – though only because I think CRM has had it’s time and has got as far as practically possible. In my mind CRM is all about trying to manage the customer rather than engage with them in an authentic way. Perhaps vintank meant more the integration of social media monitoring into existing CRM system? In which case I agree.

8 out of 12

Is how much I agree with vintank, which ain’t bad. It’s going to be an interesting year.

What’s your thoughts? Feel free to disagree.


  1. CRM has so much further to go in the Wine Industry. While it it about engaging it’s also about managing. We need Actionable CRM – for example – we need a CRM system that will assist wineries in reengaging customers who were once purchasers but maybe haven’t purchased lately.

    Like you state we also need Social CRM. -> It’s both about managing and engaging.

  2. 8/12 is not bad. Thanks for the thoughtful commentary.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the useful thinking, as always. Once I get through this harvest I’ll be ready for the next reports!


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