Winery web sites at their very fundamental level, should provide visitors with information about the winery, the wines, people, and everything else about the operation and the product.
But sometimes, somebody loses sight of all that. They let designers go wild, fail to establish goals for the site or lose sight of every rule of site usability. When style tramples substance, the money spent is an indulgence, an extravagance, a digital bauble but not a smart business decision.
And when things go horribly, horribly wrong you get the sort of badly executed, digital eye candy that aggressively defeats the basic purposes of a web site.
In short, you get the Robert Pepi Winery web site. (Go ahead, click it, experience it).
The Pepi site is quite possibly the worst winery web site ever. It doesn’t even have a search field, no site map … nothing to assist a user interested in buying wine or learning more about it. It works well as a Second Life animation or game, but little more.
I stumbled across the site by accident today when I got the following email from a former colleague I used to work with down in Southern California when I did technology and marketing consulting for some very large computer corporations.
My friend writes:
My wife was at a restaurant the other day and enjoyed the house Pinot Grigio. The brand was Pepi (not Pepsi). What do you know about it? Thanks,
My reply illustrates what I found.
That would probably be Robert Pepi who make some very good wines.
Their web site is here (http://www.pepi.com/), but is the most confusing, over-animated and totally useless site I have ever seen. It’s totally impossible to find information.
It’s the best example of a web designer gone insane … all style and if there is substance, it’s hidden. This might be a great videogame for the under-18 set who like to waste time.
That said, you can find more information by Googling “Robert Pepi Pinot Grigio” or asking your retailer (I think BevMo carries their wines). Don’t bother with the “store locator” button. That produces a “404 page not found” error.
I tried to extract some useful info for you from the Pepi web site, but when I clicked on their Pinot Grigio bottle, I got a psychedelic animation for Shiraz.
Hope this helps.