Must have iPad

A new presentation tool for wineries

Just in case the previous post didn’t hammer home this point, my mission today is to persuade you that iPads will transform many areas of wine marketing, including your presentations. Even the design is reminiscent of the beautiful leather portfolios of days gone by – sleek, light, and luxe. The user experience is intuitive and fun. Heck, even Her Majesty the Queen is a fan.

As newspapers reported earlier this year, Queen Elizabeth ordered one of the touch screen tablets after fooling around on iPads belonging to Princes William and Harry. A “royal insider” stated: “She hopes to use the popular computer for long journeys around the country when she is inside the Royal car or train.”

Even if you’re unlikely to find yourself playing Angry Birds on the trek to Balmoral, you will want to familiarise yourself with this smart gadget and the many applications (apps) that have already been created for it.

You sexy thing - an iPad offers wineries the ultimate presentation tool

The iPad (a tablet computer manufactured by Apple) is likely to remain the cool tech item for some time, and is already an essential part of the business traveller’s kit. Apple sold nearly 15 million of the things in 2010, and that number will more than double this year.

One of the very first uses for the iPad (reported soon after the initial release) was wine related. Smart, hip sommeliers quickly discovered that the tablet could transform a traditional restaurant wine list into an engaging, interactive experience. On a well-constructed iPad wine list, diners can easily tap and call up categories like “country,” “region,” “variety,” and “name.” Once a short list has been selected, up come photos of wine bottles, which, when tapped, release tasting notes from winemakers, along with photographs and maps of vineyards, and even videos – provided, of course, that your website is equipped to supply such material. Restaurants in New York, London, and Sydney have reported that wine sales shoot up somewhere between 10%-20% with an iPad wine list.

Jancis Robinson, one of the world’s leading wine writers, is also hip to the iPad and its marketing opps – or should I say apps? She’s profiled in the first international issue of a new wine magazine built specifically for the tablet computer, called By the Grape. Published by Dutch founder Derrick Neleman, the magazine is an iPad app that can be downloaded for a modest price. Earlier this month, Robinson also posted her “Recommended iPad Wine Lists,” noting that she expects next year’s list to be “much, much longer.”

Make the iPad your portfolio

New Zealand wineries are already harnessing the new technology to their own marketing programmes. The Complexity Project, a group of 21 Kiwi wineries working together to “establish the credentials of our nation’s fine wine in the USA,” has been an early adopter. Last year, Tardis Design & Advertising in Wellington was commissioned to create a Complexity iPad presentation in Keynote (iPad’s equivalent to Powerpoint, but far nicer) along with a master catalogue of PDFs (the portable document format files that enable information to be easily shared). Janet Pouchot, Complexity’s US-based campaign manager, selects the PDF files she wants to tailor a presentation according to her audience. Everything’s presented on the iPad, and then a PDF of the presentation is sent as a follow up.

There are many presentation tools available for use on the iPad, but first you should familiarise yourself with the apps used by wine consumers. Mashable, Pete Cashmore’s excellent source for news in social and digital media, listed the top wine apps for enthusiasts in 2010 (and it’s still well worth a glance). Pay particular attention to Snooth, which provides an app using image recognition supported by its powerful sales database.

As a presentation (portfolio) tool, the iPad truly comes into its own, offering wineries exactly the same advantages that it has already given restaurants’ wine lists. Naturally, there is a catch. Your website has to be ready for the technology: bottle shots in the same format, orderly vintage and cellar notes in templates, engaging colour photographs, and so on. As I mentioned in my last post, even if you don’t have your very own iPad (yet), you can preview your current site’s suitability by following the instructions on iPad Peek (after turning off Flash Player in your browser). Depending on the age and functionality of the website, you may not like what you see – if, indeed, you can see anything at all.

Unless you have strong in-house support, do enlist the help of a graphic designer to create the templates for your presentations. As with your website and social media channels, the goal is to show your winery in the best light, with appropriate branding in place. That said, here are a few links to the tools that will help with those creations:

By turning the tablet computer into your winery’s deluxe presentation portfolio, you, too, can offer consumers and members of the trade an enhanced digital experience with your brand. Who knows, the Royal Household Wine Committee might even be your next customer.

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