Surfin’ – business to business electronic commerce and marketing – Brief Article

Not very long ago, Netboy was deluged with news about how terrific things were in dot-com world. People were doing million-dollar deals left and right. If anyone mentioned profits, they were sure to be rolling in “by the end of the year.”

Netboy doesn’t see much of that sort of news anymore. There was an interesting analysis of the B2B market in the May 21 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle. You could check out the complete story at, but the heart of it focused on the failure of B2B exchanges to change long-established business traditions and buying patterns.

According to the story, suppliers have been reluctant to sign on and they are nervous about posting contract and price information where competitors can see it. Another point that has stalled the B2B companies is very simple, but no one seems to have thought of it: companies like to buy from tried and true suppliers. If they find a company and a product they like, they really don’t want to shop around. And if that’s true in the chemical and building industry, two recent areas that have seen the collapse of B2B dot-coms, it is probably doubly true in the wine business.

Wine deals have traditionally been a nod and handshake kind of arrangement. That is changing, but it remains a P2P (people-to-people) business.

Having opened with a negative riff, it must be noted that there are still B2B operations moving forward. Example: eVine has announced the launch of a Web-based procurement system that allows winery and vineyard managers to request specific winery products and pricing information from multiple suppliers. The system is called “Request For Quote” (RFQ) and it is said to save time for purchasing agents.

eVine is the premier business-to-business e-commerce Web site for the wine industry. Through eVine, winemakers and vineyard managers can choose from over 5,000 products currently available through their favorite manufacturers or distributors. This electronic, paperless exchange eliminates the current deliberate process involving hand-prepared purchase orders, fax machines and telephone calls.

“We have experienced an astonishing rate of adoption and use by wineries. The system was created to simplify the process of purchasing winery and vineyard supplies. We consulted several industry executives and purchasing managers for input as the RFQ tool was developed,” said Lawrence Fairchild, eVine’s president and chief executive, in a press release.

For more information, visit

World is another survivor of the dot-com wars. Jeff Walker, the director of the company, pointed out in a recent press release that as the global wine glut grows, his company can help buyers quickly sift through what’s on offer from anywhere in the world.

The company said that over 200 buyers and sellers of bulk wine from 23 countries have joined since its launch last year.

Another company that appears to be in a strong position is WineryExchange, a leading service and technology provider to the wine industry. Earlier this year, WineryExchange held the first online grape auction.

“Never before have so many wine industry buyers and sellers come together in one place to forge new relationships,” said Peter Byck, president and CEO of WineryExchange. “Bids were placed right off the bat, and at the height of the auction, we averaged one bid a minute. The auction activity and the interest from the industry are very encouraging. We believe this method of buying and selling wine grapes will be very successful for the industry.” A second auction was scheduled for late June.

For more information visit

A Site to See:

A truly classic company store. There’s everything here you would want to know about the Italian winery, in a sleek setting that should attract traffic from both trade and consumers. Truly a model that other wineries should check out.


North Carolina’s Wine Industry is Blooming

More than a century after its first winery–Medoc vineyard–was established in 1835, North Carolina’s wine industry is regaining strength. Developing new markets and attracting more producers, North Carolina presently ranks 12th nationally in grape production and 10th for wine production, according to USDA statistics. Currently, North Carolina has 21 bonded wineries, six of which opened in the last year, and others are in the making.

In 2000, grape harvests totaled 2,000 tons, and annual production of wine in N.C. was 552,000 gallons. N.C. has traditional European grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Merlot, Pinot noir, Syrah, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Riesling, Viognier, Seyval blanc and Vidal blanc. Plantings of the native Muscadine grapes, which are relatively pest resistant and thrive in the hot sandy conditions of the coastal plains, are also on the rise.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Hiaring Company

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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