Top 5 Hot-Button Topics for the Wine Industry in 2019

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1. ADA Compliance on Your Website

The American Disabilities Act states that businesses must facilitate full and equal access to “goods, services, facilities and accommodations” for all individuals. In what capacity that extends into the digital realm has come into recent question. By the logic that there are more and more online-only businesses and that even businesses with a physical location receive an increasing amount of website traffic, this digital point of business nests itself within the “accommodations” category.

There have been a few lawsuits directed at major retailers in recent years (e.g. Target, Five Guys, Omaha Steaks), but there have now been lawsuits filed against 15 New York wineries.

With this in mind, there’s no better time to take a moment and understand the implications of California Law and ADA Compliance and begin taking steps to bring your site into compliance. Where to begin? Reviewing the resources below is a great place to start.

Free Evaluation Tool: Functional Accessibility Evaluator

Read 5 Tools to Help Make Your Website Ada Compliant

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2. GDPR Compliance

While GDPR isn’t new news in 2019, it certainly is worth revisiting or catching up on if you didn’t take care of it in 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is aimed to protect the personal data of European citizens. Whether your business is based in the EU or not, you’re impacted if you have EU users (i.e. visitors to your site or tasting room) or customers.

What’s at stake if you fail to comply? Up to 4 percent of your yearly profits. So what should you do? Focus on transparency and ensure you’re using GDPR-compliant data collection on your site for all emails collected.


Read: 5 Easy Steps to GDPR Compliance on our blog

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3. Proposition 65: California Health Warning

Also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act this legislation has been around since 1986. The requirements we’re discussing here went into effect on August 30, 2018, and apply to businesses with 10 or more employees. What’s new? You’re now required to place the Alcohol Beverage warning language on winery websites and DTC shipments to California, as well as post it in California tasting rooms.

So how do you proceed? Look for resources in your eCommerce platform help center. For example, Wine Direct has integrated easy options to fulfill these requirements online and to only display these warnings to California customers.

Read New Prop 65 Warning Requirements for Online Sales and DTC Shipments on The Wine Institute

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4. Shipping Compliance

Of course, it’s no surprise that you need to know where you can and can’t ship wine to your customers, but the rules are always changing. Staying up-to-date on Direct-To-Consumer Shipping Laws should be a routine part of your business.

Moreover, you should take a minute to ensure that you are displaying what states you do or do not ship to on your website and on your order forms to improve the customer experience.

The Wine Institute is a resource for you to explore the ins and outs of all state policies, and also provides alerts on changing policies.

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5. Missing Millennials

The 2019 Silicon Valley Bank Wine Report covers a number of insights on how the wine industry will face challenges over the next five years, but one topic stands out among the list: millennials are not increasing their hold as wine consumers. The SVB annual report author, Rob McMillan, elaborates on this singular issue in his article, “The Lost Wine Consumer of 2019.”

Notable takeaways that are affecting millennials decision making include: wine’s growing price point compared to the perceived cheapness of beer; the negative health perception of alcohol; and the propensity to purchase spirits from their celebrity-touting labels.

So what’s the solution? Although there’s not a concrete answer, one place to start looking is at tasting room visitation and wine clubs. McMillan notes that millennials are extremely underrepresented in these areas. How could you consider structuring your club differently to attract this particular audience?


Looking for more great content? Check out our other blog topics here.

Hannah Bornhofen