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Website Review: Enjoy Sherry

Sherry month wouldn’t be complete without a warning shot across the bow of the boat before it slowly sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor. The boat being the obvious metaphor for sherry inching demise. Sherry is losing ground with the common consumer. We tried to send a life raft during our month long Virtual Tasting, but it sat empty, lifeless and cold. Granted, we didn’t have time to visit the region, but we did our best offering you sherry stories and bodega profiles of sherry houses that most likely left you, well, bored. With all hope, maybe some of you learned a thing or two. Who knows? What I do know, however, is that the government website Enjoy Sherry isn’t helping us change sherry’s image either.

The site probably cost the government 10, 20, 30 thousand Euros to create this really pretty website. Shiny menus, fancy graphics, and VERY ANNOYING! NOT SAFE FOR WORK AS A RESULT OF THEIR MUSIC! But is the music the reason this site will do nothing for Sherry? No. The reason this site will do nothing for sherry is a result of many problems. Let me explain.

  1. We’ve been writing about sherry for a month. During this time, we have searched out information to share with you on sherry including, its history and the styles associated with it. We consider ourselves web savvy and know how to search using boolean characters and other fancy tricks. With all of this knowledge, I never found this site. In reality, I found this site by way of a press release on Albarino, which led me to wonder if there was information about who produced it. In turn, this led me to the back pages of the Wines from Spain website. I should stop now, as this is sufficient reason to make my point, but alas there is more….
  2. Flash! It’s evil and it’s especially evil when you use it to promote something. All of the text is unsearchable, as well as unable to be either copied or stolen! If you want a message to spread, expand, and have people pick it up and talk about it, GIVE IT AWAY! Flash only drives people with slow Internet connections mad and makes journalists completely infuriated! Give me two versions…Please. One more point about Flash, on this page, they have postcards. You click an image and you get a “postcard” that pops up. What are you supposed to do with it? I don’t know? It’s flash, so you can’t download the image. You can’t set it as a desktop background. You can’t mail it to a friend. Maybe it should say, “silly pictures”, instead of postcards, since you can only look at them!
  3. No engagement. Go to this site and try to find a way to comment/respond/ask a friggin question! If you open the source code, you can find a couple of email addresses, but I’m pretty sure the average wine drinker neither cares to dig into the source code or knows what I’m talking about right now. What good is a site that says “Enjoy Sherry” and then makes no effort to tell you where you can find a bottle? Why wouldn’t you have section with a list of importers/distributors or even a simple email address? That isn’t even Web 2.0 that falls within Web 1.0 technology!
  4. Ok, grab your calendar off the wall. Now close it and look at the cover. What does it say? 2007? Are you sure? “Enjoy Sherry” has upcoming events listed for 2006!!!! What is going on? “Enjoy Sherry if you can time travel!”? I really don’t have to explain this, do I?
  5. OMG! My final point is the best! I’ve been writing this while I’ve been browsing the site and this is priceless. I’m even flipping back and forth to make sure I get my facts straight. This last flip back, I bumped my mouse on the bottom left-hand column, clicking on the bottles, which brought me to a second set of bottles, each one links to info on that producer’s wines in the USA! HA HA HA – so I DID stumble across some information, but it took an accident to find it. Your average person will not find this, and if you build a website that you need to explain to people how to use it, you’ve failed. The information is actually useful, if you get there. They list who to contact to find our more about distribution, though not always with equal amounts of information. Some pages have a website, others an address, while one has only a phone number.

Okay, I’m done ranting. At this point, I can only hope Catavino did a better job answering your questions than “Enjoy Sherry”, and we’ve also talked a bit about it in our forum, so check it out. Next year, we plan to do a full regional report on Jerez, but in the meantime, I’ll just plan to have a glass of sherry to relax on a quiet Monday evening!

Cheers, and till soon,

Ryan Opaz

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