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November 5, 2013 | 6:31 AM

Last week we put the December 2013 issue of WBM to bed. See the "Month in Review" by Editor Cyril Penn for a preview of what's to come.

Paying Attention to Mobile

If digital marketing represents one of the biggest changes the wine world has seen in the last decade, the advent of smartphones and tablets is changing the game again. These mobile tools, when done right, are very helpful for selling wines to restaurants and retailers because they put information at the salesperson’s fingertips. There’s video, access to winemakers, one can talk about the latest vintage, and so forth. Most shoppers make their wine buying decisions in the store, so digital marketing efforts that include mobile, video, social media, as well as search marketing, are becoming increasingly important and powerful.

Here at Wine Business Monthly, we’re seeing our web traffic via smartphone and tablets increase such that they now represent nearly one out of five visitors. That’s in line what we’re hearing from a leading winery ecommerce service provider where mobile traffic tops 20 percent. This is expected to grow quickly, yet surfing most wine websites on a mobile device is frustrating. These sites have typically been designed for desktop computers, not mobile devices. Mobile shouldn’t be ignored, though. Smart web design integrates mobile and considers mobile users. Mobile is an increasingly important consideration for any company with a digital strategy, particularly wineries. This isn’t something to ponder for the future—it’s here now, and as you may have noticed, this issue of Wine Business Monthly just happens to include an article on smartphone and tablet adoption.

There’s a range of articles on other topics in this issue too, from who’s planting what—(results from our vineyard survey)—to who’s using barrels and oak adjuncts for what (results from our barrel survey) to a product review on sparkling wine equipment for the small winery. We’ve published more than 70 product reviews in Wine Business Monthly during the past few years but this represents the first dedicated specifically to making sparkling wine. It’s not been done before. Making sparkling wine is not easy but many small wineries are taking the plunge. It also seemed like an appropriate time of year for an article dedicated to sparkling wine equipment—it’s December after all.

December is also a good time for looking back on the year. Inside this issue is a recap of some of the most significant “people moves” from 2013, a review of the most notable transactions that occurred in the U.S. wine industry this year, as well as a recap of some of the most significant headlines of 2013. The industry has seen another year of development and growth. Here’s to more success in the future.

Cyril Penn - Editor

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