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WINERY EXPERT TECH SUPPORT

From Seed to Sale to Social

Does IT speak sound like Martian to you?

We can help.

 

We've worked with wineries since 2013, helping them navigate the changing world of technology. We help staff get the most out of whatever technology they are using today, and where appropriate we can suggest other systems which have worked well for our clients over the years as they have changed and grown. 

We cover what we call "Seed to Sale to Social" and can help with issues across viticulture, viniculture, DTC, distribution, social marketing ... anything where technology is involved and can be a great help or, if not the right fit, can be just a headache.

Our capabilities include:

Follow the links to jump to a section, or just scroll down for more detail.

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GRAPE SQUAD

Support: Industry expert, dedicated help-desk service.

One-stop source: For technical support focused on winery commerce IT solutions.


Best practices: With things like wine club management, discounting, regulatory reporting, payments, inventory control etc.

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CLIENT PORTAL

Your one source for 24/7 support across all the technologies you use. Our advanced client portal technology helps us make sure your issues are responded to promptly and handled efficiently.

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SUPPORTED ECOSYSTEM

Since 2013 we've supported wineries on a wide range of technologies. We say we support wineries from "Seed to Sale to Social" across everything they do.

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We take care of technology, so you can focus on making great wine and engaging consumers.

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DATA MASTERY

Let us bring human intelligence to bear to help you get a clearer picture of who your customers are, which customers are your best customers, and in general see the big picture of how your operation is performing overall.

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 What We Do  -  Support 

GRAPE SQUAD

Your Virtual IT Department

Let our people run your technology to help you achieve better business outcomes.

 

Our Grape Squad support group frees winery staff to focus on value-added work by not having to track down issues across a range of technologies and third-party organizations. Winery staff are also freed from needing to stay on top of how to best use the latest technology to best support winery operations. The Grape Squad takes care of all that, learning best practices from all our clients so we can better and better support the industry.

The Grape Squad can support staff on your existing systems (including general IT systems like email and file sharing), and when new solutions are needed, the Grape Squad can set them up, load in data from your old systems, and then train your staff on running your business systems and reporting on operations. The Grape Squad is then available for ongoing training, troubleshooting, and pretty much any other technical support you need. In short, the Grape Squad becomes your IT staff.

Wineries can take advantage of our deep business knowledge around activities like excise tax generation, wholesale order management, and other specific business process support. Leveraging our technology, the Grape Squad can deliver several of these capabilities from our offices on a pure business process outsourcing basis, freeing your staff to do what they do best – make and sell excellent wine!

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 What We Do  -  Support 

GRAPE SQUAD

Your Virtual IT Department

 What We Do  -  Support 

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CLIENT PORTAL

One source for support from Seed to Sale to Social

24/7 expert winery support

The Grape Squad is always open to help with whatever issues you are facing across commerce channels and to answer any questions you have. Issues can be submitted by email or by calling our Grape Squad Hotline. In addition, each winery gets their own personalized Client Portal where they can monitor any open issues or submit new ones.  Please let us know if you or any of your staff need a login to https://wineryconnect.itclientportal.com/.

Check out our Grape Squad Service Desk training video to the right (one of our quarterly Zoom training sessions) to see how we make sure we respond to issues crisply and follow them through to completion with great communication throughout.

The Grape Squad Service Level Agreement is as follows:

  • Between the hours of 8am and 6pm ET, 7 days a week a Grape Squad person will be on the service desk and will respond to issues within one hour.

  • Outside of working hours the Grape Squad will be notified by email of new issues and will respond within 12 hours.

  • The best way to log an issue is by email to support@wineryconnect.com. You will immediately get a response with your issue number and your response timer will start ticking.

  • The Grape Squad hotline (585-504-6030) is configured to ring the person working the service desk at any given point. Please use the hotline for urgent issues only.

  • All our clients are also given direct cell phone numbers for key WineryConnect employees, up to and including our CEO. If for whatever reason you are not satisfied with the support you receive, please don’t hesitate to escalate. 

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 What We Do  -  Support 

SERVICE DESK

One source for support from Seed to Sale to Social

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 What We Do  -  Support 

SUPPORTED ECOSYSTEM

A dynamically expanding ecosystem of fully supported winery solutions

Since 2013 the Grape Squad has worked with our clients to curate a collection of "Best-Of-Breed" systems to support winery commerce business processes across a range of software solutions. Of course, what ranks as "Best-Of-Breed" for one winery may not be for another with a different mix of business operations. In addition, our client base is so diverse we are learning something new almost every day about what technologies are best suited to the very wide range of business activities wineries get into, and how best to support winery staff in leveraging those systems.

The more we see how different wineries solve the challenges they face with different solutions, the easier it becomes for us to support new systems across the same business processes. If you don't see a system you love on the list please let us know! 

Overview

Point of sale

Often the most critical piece of technology.

FINANCIALS

These three systems are the core technologies for most wineries - sell in-person, sell online, and account for all that activity.

Gift card program

Sell and redeem gift cards online and in your Point Of Sale

wine club/compliance

Many of our clients believe subscription wine clubs are the future of wineries.

production control

The Grape Squad supports wineries from Seed to Sale to Social

reservations

Group tastings, events, lodging, ...

Point Of Sale

Revel
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Revel Systems POS - Hall Wines | Revel Systems

When Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards contracted WineryConnect in 2014 to evaluate Point Of Sale (POS) systems they knew what they didn’t want. Hazlitt had plenty of experience with old POS systems which were hard to maintain, inflexible, and difficult or impossible to integrate with other business systems. They were ready for something new.

By working out a detailed RFP with Hazlitt’s key personnel, WineryConnect arrived at the best solution for them with Revel POS Systems, a next-generation POS provider focused on winery operations. WineryConnect has now partnered with Revel to deploy and support the Revel POS, and we have extended its capabilities with our own offerings. Over the years WineryConnect has helped Hazlitt grow their Revel deployment across multiple businesses at different locations as well as at some 2 festivals per week across the US throughout the summer.

For more information check out this PDF: WineryConnect Offers A Complete Winery Solution

Revel POS supports:
 
  • Tasting Room Sales

  • Offline Operation

  • Cafés and Restaurants

  • Gift Shop

  • Loyalty Programs

  • Flexible Discounts

  • Gift Card Programs

  • Staff and Shift Management

  • Off-Site Sales

  • Real-Time Analysis

  • Web-Based Reporting on Any Device

  • Customizable Options

  • Employee Training

Square
Square - square.com

Square is extremely easy to get set up and (depending on what features you need) is free on a monthly basis. As your winery grows you will likely find that you are paying more than you need to for payment processing with Square, but we've had several clients get going with Square before migrating to a more traditional POS several years in as their payment processing volume increased.

Online Store

Nexternal
Nexternal - truecommerce.com/winery-ecommerce-solutions-testimonials

Read the full Nexternal Buttonwood Grove Case Study
 

Nexternal was acquired in mid-2015 by a global commerce company based on their success for the last 18 years selling eCommerce to wineries. Now part of TrueCommerce, WineryConnect and Nexternal have worked together since late 2015 and we have tightly integrated the Nexternal winery eCommerce platform with VinESB. We can say with confidence that Nexternal is an industry leading solution for wineries that want to sell Direct To Consumer, and in particular their subscription wine club is the best we’ve seen. Their support is outstanding, and their business processes are mature. 

 

In particular, the Nexternal Wine Club program offers capabilities not offered by any other wine club software we're aware of, and they have been tightly integrated with ShipCompliant for many years.

Along with Revel, Nexternal is the online and wine club component of the ecosystem a number of our clients are using: WineryConnect Offers A Complete Winery Solution

WooCommrce
WooCommerce - Open Source eCommerce Platform

WooCommerce is the most popular open source online store out there. WineryConnect has developed specific expertise in supporting WooCommerce sites and in developing custom WooCommerce extensions to exactly suit our clients’ needs.

WineryConnect has developed particular expertise in supporting WooCommerce sites and in developing custom plug-ins for WooCommerce. Watch for more here.

Shopify - shopify.com

Shopify is a leading premium online store, both for mid-market merchants and, with their Shopify Plus offering for very large organizations. WineryConnect has integrated VinESB with Shopify and WineryConnect’s sister company, CoordinatedCommerce, has built a very advanced Shopify App called OmniGift to help merchants run gift card programs across online and point of sale operations.

Shopify

Financials

Quickbooks
Quickbooks (Online and Desktop)

Quickbooks has been the de-facto accounting solution for small to medium businesses for many years. The Grape Squad has extensive experience helping wineries bring data from their various commerce activities into Quickbooks.

BillerGenie
Biller Genie - billergenie.com

Biller Genie is an innovative service which automates Accounts Receivable operations. Biller Genie sits on top of Quickbooks and when an invoice is generated, Biller Genie will send it to your customer, give your customer multiple options to pay the invoice (including ACH, Credit Card, auto-payment, etc.), and then once your customer pays, Biller Genie will automatically mark the invoice as paid in Quickbooks. We use Biller Genie and absolutely love it.

Gift Card Program

Factor4
Factor 4 - factor4gift.com

In an IT meeting, one of our clients let us know that they were no longer going to sell gift cards online because their customers couldn't redeem them online and in the POS. We partnered with Factor 4, which is already integrated with over 100 POS systems (including Revel) to tie them to Shopify and to WooCommerce. Find out more about this under Innovation.

Wine Club/Compliance

Vinoshipper
Vinoshipper - vinoshipper.com

Vinoshipper can be a cost-effective way to ship wine in compliance with state regulations, depending on context. We have wineries for whom we have integrated Vinoshipper into WooCommerce to create a very nice low-cost way to sell wine online. We have other clients who use Vinoshipper to ship only into certain states where the convenience of Vinoshipper makes it worth the transactional cost, but use other methods to ship in States where they have high volume. Vinoshipper is an excellent solution for the situations where it's appropriate.

Production Control

Innovint
InnoVint - innovint.us

In late 2018, WineryConnect evaluated a range of winery production control systems along with several of our clients. Our clients chose InnoVint and we have integrated InnoVint with VinESB to drive further operational efficiencies and also open up a world of possibilities in terms of overall organizational reporting and analytics.

Reservations

Tock
Tock - tock.com

While our clients use a fairly diverse set of reservation systems, Tock is among the more popular.

General Business

GoogleWorkspace
Google Workspace - workspace.google.com

When it comes to general IT systems like email, calendaring, groupware, file sharing, and such, there are really just two alternatives. Google offers their Workspace set of applications, and Microsoft offers M365.

Google Workspace is less expensive, tends to be easier to access and to share documents with, and tends to be better integrated into third party solutions (in our humble opinion). We use Google Workspace internally and have several clients that swear by it.

Microsoft 365 - www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365

Microsoft is the unparalleled leader in terms of office software like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The Google equivalents to these applications fall short in many important respects. Even the web versions of these applications offered by Microsoft are lacking for anything like a "Power User." We use native Office applications internally for all our detailed work.

In addition, Microsoft 365 (M365) is more secure and mature as a general business environment (again in our humble option). We also have larger clients that use M365. This is certainly a case where "Best-Of-Breed" is in the eye of the beholder.

Microsoft365

Email Marketing

MailChimp
MailChimp - mailchimp.com

Email marketing is also a place where Your Mileage May Vary. The two leading systems are Constant Contact and MailChimp. Both have a large following of strong proponents.

MailChimp is slightly more popular among our clients. One particularly interesting fact is that Nexternal is integrated with MailChimp not just in terms of pushing newsletter subscribers over, but in terms of (if you choose) pushing detailed commerce data into "MailChimp 360" to do advanced drip-campaign marketing.

Constant Contact - constantcontact.com

Email marketing is also a place where Your Mileage May Vary. The two leading systems are Constant Contact and MailChimp. Both have a large following of strong proponents.

From what we've seen, Constant Contact has a more user-friendly editing experience, but it's a close race.

ConstantContact
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 What We Do  -  Support 

DATA MASTERY

Leverage the data you already have

Human Intelligence

 

Most wineries already have a massive amount of data on their operation in their existing systems which they can’t properly leverage. Particularly when it comes to customer data, records are often duplicated or mis-aligned and it can be difficult to get a clear picture of who your best customers are or what they are doing.

There are complicated technological approaches to what is called Master Data Management, and our Founder has spoken on this subject at the Eastern Winery Exposition both in 2020 and in 2022 (see videos on this page).

 

That having been said, often a far more efficient and effective way to leverage your data is to bring in data experts. The Grape Squad regularly helps clients simply by exporting spreadsheets of data from existing systems on a monthly basis and then using Excel magic to distill that data into a form which is useful for excise tax reporting, to segment customers in various ways, and so on.

We speak Data so you don't have to!

Note: The above  is a dry run for our 2022 EWE talk. We didn't end up being able to record the live event.

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