September 16, 2012

Data Wants to be Free: Widgetizing Wine Information

One of the secret weapons at VinTank is our wine data syndication network. There’s really nothing like it in the industry and it’s poised to solve the single biggest hurdle holding back digital innovation in the wine industry. That is, efficient access to accurate and complete information on wineries and wines. The data network is powered by our application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow data partners to extract winery and wine data from our platform. The network is already feeding wine data into hundreds of e-commerce sites, social networks, and mobile applications that serve content to millions of wine consumers every day. The data network is fueled by the data that wineries and wine companies enter in the system (either through our web user interface or through integration channels).

Until now, tapping into the data network has required at least some level of technical aptitude and/or programming. Although accessing data from the network is free, so far we’ve only provided the data “pipes” for accessing the data. Partners had to write the code to extract the information they desired and then assimilate it into their applications. Today we are providing two dead-simple “widgets” that allow anyone to embed dynamic content from the data network into any webpage. To start we are providing a winery brand widget and a wine widget. No programming required! Just copy/paste a short snippet of HTML source code into your blog post or web page and you’re done.

Accessing the new widgets is easy. Just browse to the VinTank Wine Directory and search for the winery/brand you’re interested in. If you want to grab the widget for a winery brand, click the “Get Widget” link from the winery brand page to access the widget builder.

If you want the widget for an individual wine instead, search for the brand, click on the wine from the brand detail page, and then click the “Get Widget” link from the wine detail page.

The widget builder page for both types of widgets allows you to enter the width and height of the widget to suit your needs as well as whether the digital media for the brand/wine should auto-play (or rotate) when the widget is loaded. A live preview is also displayed so you’ll know exactly how the widget will look on your page.

Winery Brand Example

Below is a live version of the brand widget for Jordan Vineyard & Winery. A vertical orientation is used in this case by setting the height larger than the width and the digital media for the brand is set to auto-play (the image at the top rotates every 4 seconds). When you hover your mouse over the digital media section of the widget, the auto-play is paused, and next/previous controls appear that let you move forward and backward through the attached media. All of the digital media and content for the brand and wines comes from the data network (and is entirely under the control of wineries providing the data to the network). Click on the tabs to get a sense of the depth of data available through the widget and potential to drive traffic to your website and social accounts.

Wine Example

Below is a live version of the wine widget. In this case, the widget is for the 2010 Modus Sauvignon Blanc. A horizontal layout is used since the width is larger than the height. Again, click on the tabs to see the data that is available (the widget will display as much or as little information that is available for the wine).

The widgets will automatically determine the best possible layout based on the specified width and height in the widget builder. The tall and wide layouts were shown above. The square version will merge the digital media and text content into the rotating carousel.

Consider the Possibilities

We hope that these widgets help illustrate the power of the VinTank data network and provide some useful tools for tapping into the data in the network for your sites and projects. Indeed, anyone could have built these widgets using our APIs or embedding techniques. Consider the possibilities. A blogger could paste the widget into a post about a winery or wine to provide richer context to their post. A winery could build their entire website or trade section using these widgets for their brand and wines (even an e-commerce site could be built around these widgets). A regional association could build their website around the brand widgets. And much more.

All that’s required from wineries is to keep their winery and wine information up-to-date in their VinTank account. And since VinTank accounts are FREE, there’s no reason for not taking advantage of this powerful feature of the VinTank Wine Data Network. The widgets are compatible with the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. If you notice any display issues, please let us know.

What would you like to see from the VinTank Wine Data Network? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • http://twitter.com/Nga_Waka Roger Parkinson

    My developer is working with api to incorporate our vintank data to our own site. If I can do it with a widget quicker than he can, he owes me a seriously good bottle of wine. Great stuff!

  • http://twitter.com/james_jory James Jory

    Awesome! The widgets are the quickest to implement but not as flexible as wiring directly into the API. We’ll take the politically correct position and cheer you both on! Be sure to let us know how it turns out and drop us a link when there’s something to look at.

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