To wine shops: add importer information

shopping cartsTO: wine shop managers and their webmasters
FROM: Dr. Vino
RE: adding importer information to e-shops

I was surfing the sites of a few online wine retailers today looking for some specific imported wines when I should have been working. Some of the sites generated other imported wines suggestions that sounded good but I hadn’t heard of the producers. Since you already list tons of information about the wine including the producer, region, vintage, possibly grape variety, and a critic’s opinion, how hard would it be to add a field to list the importer as well? I, for one, would be more likely to throw a bottle in my virtual shopping cart if I knew it was from one of my favorite importers. If I am in a shop I can look at the back label, which provides that info, but not online…


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9 Responses to “To wine shops: add importer information”

  1. Hi Dr. Vino,

    I have done this with some of my inventory but unfortunately all our data is manually entered, and occasionally it gets left off (well, okay, a little more than occasionally). If there were an easy way to import (no pun intended) the data into our online inventory, it would be a no brainer.

    One thing…the importers for a wine can vary depending upon where one is located. Like with Francois Chidaine, for instance, which is handled by Beaune Imports here and I think Louis/Dressner on the east coast. That kind of complicates matter. How would you resolve that?

  2. Data entry sucks. But at least importers don’t change too often.

    That’s a good point about a wine varying importers by state. But obviously you could only be responsible for inputting the info for the importer you bought it through. If it’s not a name known nationally, perhaps the importer has a following among local consumers who may be the shop’s core constituency?

  3. It is important to me who the importer is as much as the alchohol content. I try to remember the groups of wines that a particular importer represents. I highlight the importer and also website information of the winemaker when reading the Wine Advocate for instance. If a wine is not readily available in my area then I can contact the importer directly and find out if a new release is imminent. Some importers specialize in a preferred area of one country but now they are branching out to new regions and hemispheres. A reliable importer is a good indicator of quality if you have similar bottles to choose from at retail. A few importers will influence the vinyards practices such as low yields inorder to achieve better quality. They also are the repository of wonderful stories about a wine’s history and lore. They add richness to the humanity of wine.

  4. Hello,

    We sell wine through the internet and our customers just want a particular wine and don’t know and don’t care who the importer is. A lot of importers have their own website and if they want a wine from them, they just go to their website.
    We make discount deals with importers who don’t have a website so we can sell their wines for a reasonable price. The customer just wants a particular wine. If they see an importer, they will call the importer and don’t order their wines at us.
    Also a lot of importers are not known to the public, only the website who sell wines.

    So we are not going to show the importer on the website.



  5. Thanks for the Dutch perspective, Ivan. In the US, importers often have to sell to distributors who then sell to retailers (confusing, and, ultimately, expensive to the consumer). In rare circumstances, a store can import wine directly and, also rarely, an importer can sell directly–but that is not the norm here as it appears to be in Holland based on your comment.

  6. wait a minute.. I’ve read your comment 3 times..

    In Holland it goes like this:
    Producer–>importer–>(maybe another importer)–>seller.

    In between importers they also sell to eachother (don’t know exactly why, but there are many reasons, like specific customers or bigger assortment for a specific country or grape or whatever you can come up with).

    There are 2 big importers in Holland (okay maybe more, but only 2 I really know who do the following:) who only sell to other importers and supermarkets. So they import a certain wine by the boat and not by the pallet and distribute this through the whole of Holland.

    Other importers also sell directly to customers, but their core market is the retailers. So for 1 wine they have a consumer price and a retail price.

    At the end the wine gets sold to a customer by the internet or through a shop.
    Anybody can import wine as long as you pay your taxes (and in Holland these are high, because you have your normal Tax of 19% + environment tax + import tax) and you have to pay the distributer who drives / fly’s / sails in your wine. The import Tax is handled by the Customs Office, the normal 19% tax and the environment tax is done by the Tax and Administration.

    So anybody can do it, but it is a lot of paperwork to get things done and you have to keep your accounting / administration very tight.

    We don’t import, we don’t want the paper hussle and the big stocks (which cost money). We go to an importer, ask which wines we can sell, do extensive tastings and then choose which wines we want to sell. We ask for a discount, because we do our own logistics so we are an easy customer for them. The wines get picked up at the importer and deliverd to the customer.

    So producer–>importer–>customer (a small chain!) so we can sell the wine a very reasonable price.

    Since last Friday we also have a tasting room in Rotterdam, we want to make the customer part of the tasting process and the descission making. We also invite producers to show their wines and explain about their wines. This is done with help from the importers.

    So you see (after a long reply), why tell a customer on the website where we got the wine from? They don’t know and they don’t care. It’s not a secret, but it doesn’t give any extra info to the customer.



  7. […] buy a wine including what you’ve read about it, the place of origin, the grape, the producer, the importer, and perhaps the bottle design and label (if you’re new to this site, have your say in our […]

  8. I’ve often wished for the same thing on restaurant wine lists. It’s a bit more of a challenge than for e-tailers, as there’s not as much space to work with on a paper-based wine list as on a web page. But it would still be super helpful. You’d think that just asking a server (or sommelier, if there is one) who the importer is would take care of it but, more often than not, I’ve found that they don’t know.

  9. @David McDuff
    This is because the server or sommelier just does is job. Find a good food wine paring and that’s it.
    Often the sommelier isn’t the person who orders the wine and when they do, they don’t ask for the importer, they just do bussiness with a merchant and really don’t care.
    This is a shame, because this could be the reason why a guest in a restaurant could choose a more expensive wine next to a less expensive wine!


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