Donuts Inc announced that .WINE and .VIN are the most popular Donuts gTLD as ranked by the number of prerelease (trademark sunrise) registrations. It’s also the first gTLD where I’ve invested. By the time the EAP landrush is over on Wednesday, I’m hoping to register at least 50 domains with the .WINE and .VIN extensions. Some of the names I’ve been able to pick up so far include:
Unfortunately, 50 domains is not a small investment. With renewal prices starting at $40, and going up to $440 for premium names like T.wine, my annual renewals will approach $4,000 per year. That’s the equivalent of 500 .COM domains.
The two reasons for picking .WINE include my familiarity with the wine industry and my belief that the industry will support these new extensions.
My personal experience comes from growing up on a vineyard in California, as well as having a father who is a winegrower and my brother works for a wine distributer. I live just over an hour away from both Napa Valley and Monterey County where I go wine tasting a few times a year. I enjoy wine and I have a basic understanding of how the wine industry operates (where faxing is still integral). Much like the domain aftermarket, it’s a shockingly small world. For example, one winemaker can concurrently work for up to ten independent brands, one (large) grower can sell grapes to over 1,000 different wineries, and one company (like Treasury Wine Estates) can own 50 wineries.
The example set by Napa Valley and the proximity to Silicon Valley have pushed the entire, global wine industry to invest in technology as a catalyst for growth. Some of those investments include CRM systems, online advertising, and tasting room data analytics.
I once purchased a bottle of wine at Safeway that had gone bad. I called the phone number on the wine label and the winery mailed me a check the following week. Now every six months they call me to see if I’d like to buy a case of wine. When I told them that I prefer to buy at the winery, they asked which winery of theirs I’d like to visit. They had information like the addresses, hours of operation, and varietals ready for every subsequent question.
Silicon Valley has been friendly to the new gTLDs and that may speed the acceptance by California winemakers. I don’t think it will be very long before new wineries will see the value of a shorter and more relevant domain name, partly because many wine brands are already appending “wine,” “wines,” or “winery” after their name, such as HallWines.com, PlumpjackWinery.com, and ArtesaWinery.com. Wouldn’t that look better as Hall.wine, Plumpjack.wine, and Artesa.wine?