I’ve written before about how poor a job, in general, New York wineries do with their websites and Internet marketing. Some wineries don’t have websites at all. Others have sites that were built years ago and get updated maybe once a year. And many ignore contact forms and emails that come in via their sites.

In short, very few "get it" when it comes to marketing themselves and their wines online. It’s a shame really as Internet marketing can be one of the most cost effective forms of marketing available.

Of course, some of the smaller producers just don’t have the extra money laying around tol put into the intial start up of a quality website. But, New York State is trying to help. The state will make $500,000 available to wineries and vineyards to improve their sites. The funding is designed to help vintners better market their wines out-of-state.

Matching grants of up to $2,500 will be made available to vintners. Applications need to be submitted the state agricultural department by Aug. 7, 2006.

This is definitely a good thing. But, I hope that Long Island wineries are careful with this money if they get some. I see a lot of East End design agencies taking what little money wineries do have for Internet marketing and producing poor-quality sites.

That happens all over the place (both geographically and by industry) but I hate seeing it in my own backyard wine industry. And, I don’t think there are many, if any agencies locally that have any wine-specific expertise. It’s a definite gap.