California wineries Lynmar, Clos du Val and EOS Estate Winery have come top in a listing of the top ten US winery websites of 2005.

The list is based on an independent review of over 2,200 sites carried out by Michael E Duffy & Associates, publishers of The Winery Website Report.

The report evaluates ‘user effectiveness’ using 25 criteria, including the site’s visual appeal, its navigation, personalisation and responsiveness.

Information about current releases, the biggest single rating element, accounts for 6% of the site’s total score.

‘Increasingly, the first point of contact between a customer and a winery is through the winery’s website. That one contact may be a winery’s only shot at a potential customer’, Michael E Duffy told decanter.com.

First place, with a score of 83 out of a possible 100, was awarded to lynmarwinery.com, with closduval.com and eosvintage.com in second and third place.

‘The best sites clearly address the needs of four distinct types of visitors: buyers, browsers, the trade, and the media. An effective site helps a visitor accomplish what they came to do without a lot of effort wasted,’ said Duffy.

However Duffy added the caveat that with an average score of 48 points, the 2,231 sites surveyed aren’t working as well as they should. He made the point that wineries should ask ‘What is someone who just landed on this page trying to do?’ rather than ‘What do I want my site to do?’

‘The report is designed to help wineries make their sites more visitor effective, meaning that visitors achieve their goals, and leave with a positive impression. Those two elements lead to continued interaction between them and the winery, which, properly managed, leads to sales,’ Duffy added.

So far the survey covers US wineries only, though Duffy has plans to expand. ‘So far, we’ve had requests from Canadian, Israeli, and Tuscan

wineries.’

The full top ten:

1. Lynmar Winery (83) www.lynmarwinery.com

2. Clos Du Val Wine Co. (82) www.closduval.com

3. EOS Estate Winery (81) www.eosvintage.com

4. King Estate Winery (80) www.kingestate.com

5. Huntington Wine Cellars (79) www.huntingtonwine.com

6. Nickel & Nickel (78) www.nickelandnickel.com

7. Goldeneye (77) www.goldeneyewinery.com

8. Lambert Bridge Winery (77) www.lambertbridge.com

9. Wildhurst Vineyards (77) www.wildhurst.com

10. Quivira Vineyards (75) www.quivirawine.com

www.winerywebsitereport.com/

Written by Emmet Cole