💎💎💎 3 gems worth remembering

Greetings, friends, and welcome to another Must Read,

It’s been a pretty lousy week in the Hammond house, and my writing inspiration is in the toilet. So in lieu of a poorly written original article, I thought I’d improve upon a few of the most-read Must Reads from the past year (okay, they’re also ones that I’m particularly dogmatic about!).

You say Age Gate, I say Welcome Mat.

Age gates suck. They’re stupid and useless and we all end up making our DOBs somewhere in the 1920s. And yet, for many of us, they are a legal requirement.

When we first started creating websites for clients, age gates made me sad. There we were, having carefully written and painstakingly designed a site and then, we had to slap a big ol’, slow, ugly age verifier to the front of it. There had to be a better way. And that’s what I’m going to share with you.

Instead of relegating your age gate to annoying-afterthought, embrace it as the Welcome Mat of Awesome. THIS IS SOMEONE’S FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR WEBSITE. THAT’S EXCITING!

  • Grab an engaging picture, preferably with people and your branded products.
  • Change boring functional text to welcoming, joyful microcopy.
  • Add some social media links.
  • If GDPR is an issue, why not get that acceptance out of the way, too. (You’ll want to use a cookie because it means customers won’t have to add their DOBs every time.)
  • “Since we already know how old you are, how about making it official?” Be cheeky, include an email subscription form (please, single-line only).
  • If in doubt, remember that your site is merely an extension of your tasting room. Recreate the personality of a real-life reception on your Age Gate.

Here are some fab examples (beer and spirits tend to have better gates than wine; that’s a conversation for another day):

Um, not all wine drinkers are white, or male.

I can’t begin to count the number of hours I spend looking at wine imagery each week. And let me tell you, it’s devastatingly white, male, hipster, and young. This chaps my hide. My challenge to each and every one of you this week is to look at your digital presence with fresh eyes: could your brand better represent the diversity of your customers? Here are some photo resources to help you make a change:

  • Nappy.com “Beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people. For free.”
  • Blend. “Blend Images is the world’s leading multicultural commercial stock agency.”
  • CreateHER Stock. “Curated for female bloggers, creatives, and online influencers of color.”
  • TONL. “Find culturally diverse stock photos that represent the true world we live in. Creating an inclusive culture takes both commitment and action. A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions for everyone.

While we’re talking diversity and imagery, check out this SUPER AWESOME RESOURCE. Every winery I know is scrambling to get good drone footage. This is a great place to start.

While you’re at it, please stop using this photo.


No, for real. I beg of you.

This image isn’t storytelling, it’s not impactful, and it doesn’t appeal to your customers. Instead, it’s so ubiquitous that it says “we are like every other winery.”

USE PHOTOS OF PEOPLE, preferably joyful (diverse) people. Site photos are a lot like house styling: you want to convince people what it feels like to drink your wine. Content that places your wine in the context of their lives (or the lives they aspire to) will help you sell more wine.

Oooh, that was a little bit ranty. Thanks for sticking with me to the end. Go forward, hug your family, and have an awesome Sunday. You guys rock.

[Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash]