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Wine Courses, Site Update, and Business Goals

Written by Justin Hammack

Ta’da, Wine Folly has a new look. Pretty slick eh?

Last month we had our first big meeting with all the founders. And.. by all the founders, I mean the three troublemakers who keep this boat afloat (Madeline, Justin, Chad). At the meeting we talked about what we were building, what our values were, and how best we can help new wine drinkers discover great wine. (Because seriously, no first time wine drinker should have to run the gauntlet at a supermarket.) We also dug through a bunch of analytics, reviewed our goals and talked about the upcoming wine courses..

New Site Design

In anticipation of the wine courses we tweaked the site design to be easier to use. Here is a comparison:


Wine Courses, Coming Soon, Seriously.

We’ve been working on the wine courses 12 hours a day for the last couple months and now we’re finally on the home stretch. In April we spent about a week filming all the off-site material. Turns out eastern Washington is a lot like Tatooine; ankle socks and a pair of shorts did little to repel the murderous red ant armies.

Horse Heaven Hills Columbia River

It’s hard work, but someone has to wake up, film this, and drink all the wine.

Now that we’re back in the safety of our urban dwellings we’re busy editing video, writing scripts and putting the finishing touches on the set. So far.. everything looks BADASS.

The first course is on Horse Heaven Hills, a growing region in eastern Washington. We’ll go into all the details that make this region unique. We take a typical Wine Folly approach, unconventional, light-hearted, slightly sarcastic while still informative.
Wine Folly Wine Courses Mockup
Horse Heaven Hills Course

  • 100% Free (wine not included)
  • Two Tier Tasting (beginner/advanced)
  • Overview of the Region
  • Geography, History Lesson
  • Varietals, Winemakers Lesson

You don’t want to miss out. We cherry picked some fantastic wines and even arranged exclusive access to a retailer for the lazy. Expect this course to come out around the end of the month. More details will follow in an upcoming update where we’ll also reveal the wines!


First Quarter Report

Wine Folly is young, super young! We celebrated our 3 month business birthday with a meeting. (yay!?) A few interesting stats.. We have over 77 posts, 30 of which are videos and 2 were published on Huffington Post. We also broke 1,000 twitter followers and have over 300 people on the waiting list for wine courses. AWESOME. Our minds are boggled from the love we’ve received in the wine community, you guys are fantastic!

Best of all, we’re just getting started and there is a butt ton (business term) of fantastic content coming your way. As for site traffic, here is a chart of our growth:

Wine Folly First Quarter Growth
Wine Folly First Quarter Growth

Right now we get about 266 visitors per day. Not shabby for a site without advertising. However, we can’t take the credit, it’s you guys who are making the difference. Thank you for being so generous and regularly sharing our content! It means a lot to us!

JUST KIDDING! But seriously, the share buttons are at the bottom.


Challenges in Wine Culture

During our meeting we spent a long time talking about ethics and the direction of wine culture. There is a growing inequality between highly rated bulk wine which can get powerful mainstream distribution and small batch artisan wine. It’s an incredibly frustrating balance in the wine world, as a business you want to look at what’s accessible, what’s easy to deliver. However, on the other hand there is a huge hole in the market where winemakers are producing incredible, unique wines that just don’t get the same distribution.

The amazing part is that wine isn’t constrained by the three tier system. Many (most), wineries can ship direct to consumer. That’s INCREDIBLE! The hard part becomes, how do you turn people on to this? How do you get people excited about wine they’ve never heard of? It’s premium wine, which means you’re asking people to take a risk, but it’s oh so worth it! The easy road is to chase wine ratings, endorse mass produced well distributed wines, and pass that on to the consumer like everyone else.

Our promise to you is that we won’t take the easy road. You deserve to enjoy craft wines, to escape in a vicarious experience that connects you with the region, people and passion; even if it means our margins aren’t as good or it’s more work.

The Future

Right now we’re working hard to launch the wine courses. The plan is to release a wine course every month, systematically tying wines with their regions and eventually creating a map for wine drinkers to explore. We’ll also provide tools so you can keep notes on regions that interest you and help you connect with the winemakers/wines you love.

Hungry for knowledge? Watch a demo Wine Course on Argentina.

Madeline Puckette, Justin Hammack, Chad Wasser - The Wine Folly Team
Team Wine Folly

Written byJustin Hammack

When I'm not drinking wine, I'm also.. a rails developer, vegetarian foodie, coffee addict, casual gamer, lover of cult movies, driver of insane turbo-2.0L ... in Seattle.

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