A reoccurring question this Clarkesian year of 2001 asked by clients and wine industry acquaintances alike has been: “Is ecommerce dead?” The cratering of Wine.com and WineShopper.com, the relatively modest performance of other wine dot-coms to-date, and the collapse of the NASDAQ and business-to-consumer ecommerce ventures throughout 2000 and 2001 certainly give warrant to such a question. However, Tincknell & Tincknell’s answer has staunchly been and is: “NO!”
As clocks tick down to close the Gregorian calendar’s second millennium since the birth of Christ (debate on the true end aside), the wine industry has undergone profound changes in the last forty years, with the last ten the most dramatic. Prior to the nineties, the changes all had to do with the actual making of the wine. There has been a seismic change in perceptions about marketing, sales and distribution. The wine industry is still hobbled by post-Prohibition, three-tier distribution and regulations, but wine producers are finally embracing alternate and new methods of selling wine: the internet and direct marketing.