Wine Store Websites Are Terrible

This may be better in the ITB board, but posting here to get all perspectives. It continues to amaze me that here we are in 2020 and most wine shop websites are still so poor. Common problems include difficulty in browsing, missing vintage information, lack of live inventory data, and generally just being riddled with errors. I mean, I think I know a big part of the reason - given how decentralized the industry is, no one shop or handful of shops can afford to design their own website, and they rely on website infrastructure that is basically pre-programmed and out of a box. Be that as it may, it’s hard to believe better solutions have not been made available. Even a fairly basic website like is easy to use in a way that most other sites are not.

You like’s site? I find it annoying: very generalized, the continual scroll (very social-media), the pop-up “Can I help you find some great plonk today?” dialog boxes…

Some are better than others, but hard to be perfect.

now do restaurant websites

K&L wines is organized and kept up to date with inventory, not quite a wine shop per se but a large wine shop I guess?

It’s not that I love it. And I don’t like the pop-ups. But it is reasonably accurate, and has vintages and live inventory. My bar is pretty low.

Yes, K&L has a great site.

K&L’s site is great. It seems that numerous stores however use the same platform for their inventory that looks like it was programmed by Angelfire.

I think most wine store websites I find are pretty good. For the most part, I find them through WSPro, and most work pretty well. I know there are crappy ones, too, and I encounter those occasionally, but they seem more the exception than the rule to me.

Restaurants are much more frustrating. They often don’t have updated COVID-era status and hours, the online menus are out of date, wine lists don’t have vintages, etc.

Had to laugh at the Angelfire comment. That is super old school

vinfolio takes the cake for the most over designed yet least functioning site

K&L definitely seems like the gold standard. There are others that are solid, with reliable real time inventory, etc but none as good as K&L.

K&L’s site is so good that they should consider licensing it to retailers in states they can’t ship to.

I suppose it only works if one has the inventory management skills though to pair with it.

I’m not sure a fancy website would fix the Zachys issue of them contacting a week after an order to say ‘sorry out of stock and website wasn’t accurate because inventory isn’t real time’

I’ve always found Chambers Street’s solid, reliable, fast, and accurate (allowing for inevitable minor inventory errors when stock is low). And the search function work. David and Jamie saw the importance of a good website when the opened in 2001. It was miles ahead of anyone’s at that point.

free tips for those interested in selling more wine:

  • just give me my search results. Don’t make me click “next page” 20 times or manually change the results per page from 20 to 100 or “All.” OF COURSE I want “All.” If I’m searching for 2015 burgundies just show me all the 2015 burgundies. I’m not on a 300 baud modem, nor is a long list of search results going to fill up all 64kb of your RAM and break the Internet
  • the fewer buttons I have to press and the more prominently they are displayed to filter results by region, subregion, vintage, etc., the better
  • why in the world would you ever show out-of-stock items in any kind of search or browse, ever
  • if I’m logged in, keep me logged in, or if you don’t, don’t REQUIRE me to be logged in just to click on a link to your web site to see the product (looking at you here, K&L)
  • remembering my shopping cart from one visit to the next makes it way more likely I’ll end up buying something I thought about once and then passed on or forgot about. But don’t ever send me an email about items left in my cart unless it’s accompanied by a coupon to get them cheaper, that’s just creepy
  • if you’re going to show label or bottle pictures, make them small. I want to see your products on the screen and the more I see the more I might buy - I do NOT want to see 2 and a half wines per screen because you thought I needed to see a 400x400 image of a label, or, worse, of a generic “No Label Image Available,” forcing me to keep my finger glued to the down-arrow for eternity except when I need to switch to the up-arrow in order to see the other half of the item that got cut off because the height of one of your product entries is not evenly divisible by the viewable space of the browser frame
  • do not reproduce Galloni notes in the product description. We already know what they say because they’re all the same and being forced to read them is so painful it kills the mood
  • ALWAYS include a $0.00 “consolidate with future orders” option for shipping. If I have to pay shipping up front and then pay extraneous shipping on my next order such that I have to email (or, worse, pick up an actual telephone) to get you to combine shipping, I’m just gonna X the browser window because it ain’t worth the trouble

Even the K&L site is poor. It is not easy finding things.

Zachys site has always been hinky.

it started out OK but got worse with each redesign…

IIRC the original 2001 website was done by Robert Callahan of wine internet fame who had done the old Garnet Wines website as well (I still remember the polka dot/champagne bubble background). But as I recall he only managed it for a few years.

The current version is IMO quite good.

That’s good. You’ve been doing research. In fairness to KL (which has a great website, btw), a lot of those offers that make you sign in to see the price is something the producer/wholesaler/whatever doesn’t want the public to see, so I think that hoop can be excused. Other companies do that as well so I imagine it’s the same as a winery not wanting a public price to show on winesearcher.

No, it does it to all links to their web site, even auction lots. Very annoying!