Thursday, January 26, 2006

Finger Lakes Winery Website Rankings

As I've said in previous posts, I believe that, in general, Finger Lakes winery websites have room for improvement. Mike Duffy at has been kind enough to send me his Top Twelve rated Finger Lakes winery websites. Mike bases his ratings on over 20 different website elements including Branding, Compatibility, Contact Info, Domain Name, Current and Past Information, Media Kit, A variety of Navigational elements, Newsletter, Obstructions, Personalization, Responsiveness, RSS, Search Rank, Shipping Info, Site Search, Trade Marketing Materials, and Visual Appeal. Keep in mind that Mike is still evaluating about 20 wineries in the Finger Lakes and the following rankings are based on the evaluation of 61 wineries. So, drum roll please.... Here are the Top Twelve:

Numbers 12 thru 8 all tied with a score of 51 points are:
--Knapp Winery-
--Casa Larga Vineyards-
--Atwater Estate Vineyards-
--Arbor Hill-
--Anthony Road Wine Company-

Numbers 7 and 6 tied with 52 points:
--Thirsty Owl Wine Company-
--Swedish Hill Vineyard-

Numbers 5, 4, and 3 all tied with 54 points:
--Hosmer Vineyard-
--Dr. Franks Vinifera Wine Cellars-
--Chateau Lafayette Reneau-

Number 2 with a score of 58 points and runner up that will be able to perform all duties of the number one winery website in case number one is unable to fulfill its duties:
--Heron Hill Vineyards-

And The #1 ranked Finger Lakes winery website with 65 points:
--Sheldrake Point Vineyard- Congratulations to Sheldrake Point Vineyard!!! One of the things that I really like about their website is that they make great use of pulldown menus on their home page to easily navigate a large number of pages with very little clutter. And then each page is well-written and detailed with good graphics. Well Done!!!

To put the point scores in context, has evaluated over 2800 winery websites and the average score is around 48, with the highest score being 83.

In addition to's top ten above, I'd like to give recognition to some other websites that I feel do a good job in most or all of the following areas that are important to me: Keeping News and Event Pages updated, Attractive layout and design, an easy to navigate store to purchase merchandise, Descriptive tasting notes, Newsletter Signup, Winery History & Personal stories of the wine and people of the winery, and Wine Education pages:
--Lakewood Vineyards-
--Fox Run Vineyards-
--Standing Stone Vineyards-

I have seen that some wineries are updating and remodeling their websites, so I will post again as they appear. The bottom line, in my opinion, is that a website is as important a marketing and branding and customer retention tool as a wine label or a tasting room or any form of advertising that a winery does. As a winery, you wouldn't skimp on the design of your wine label or the construction of your tasting room, so why should the internet portal to your brand and products be treated with any less diligence. I see way to many static websites or websites with news and events that have not been updated in years. It may be true that not as many people will actually buy product from a website, but it is also a fact that people do a large amount of their pre-buying research from browsing websites. So please, for the sake of your customers and potential customers, get those websites updated and make them a real reflection of your passion for making great wine and your pride in your products. Sell me. I want to buy!!!

Once again, Thanks to Mike Duffy at If you are interested in finding out how to improve your website, visit his website.

If you have a favorite Finger Lakes winery website, please leave me a comment and let me know why you like it.


Lenn said...

Great post! I'd agree with Mike that Sheldrake is among, if not the best.

It's sad how little most NY wineries put into their websites...truly.

Mike Duffy said...

Your post makes me glad we took the time to extract the Finger Lake statistics from our database (and it also helped us uncover some winery Web sites that we hadn't seen before - which improves the quality of our information).

You make an important point: ...people do a large amount of their pre-buying research from browsing websites.

Thanks for asking us to undertake this little project, and for writing up the results. We should do an update at some future point which includes the new wineries (and wineries which have improved their site in response to encouragement from you and Lenn).

Finger Lakes Weekend Wino said...

Mike, Thank You again for the info! I think many of the wineries are in the process of updating and rethinking their website strategy, and that is certainly a good start.