Going for gold in a virtual vineyard

Going for gold in a virtual vineyard

What the site is: Stonehaven's Web site is a comprehensive information site about its South Australian vineyards, the winery and the product. It includes historical information and general viticulture facts and figures and a basic guide to wine tasting. Profiles of Stonehaven winemakers and owners are also available.

Aim: First, it was created in order to launch BRL Hardy's new wine brand, Stonehaven. Stonehaven expects the site will promote its brand name, facilitate the exposure of the brand to over 50 countries and drive Hardy's revenue to the $200 million mark by next year. Stonehaven also hopes to increase the awareness of Australian wine in general.

Second, it was designed to reflect the level of technology in the winemaking process and demystify the whole winemaking experience.

Who developed it: The Adelaide office of Empire Ridge - an Internet marketing and development company.

Development tools: NT is active server pages, and a simple access database back end.

Cost: About $50,000.

How long it took: From conception to birth - nine months.

Special features: The Shiraz challenge. This interactive challenge takes site visitors through a nine-step winemaking process that gives them three to five options per step in an attempt to make a gold medal wine. At the end the site awards them either a bronze, silver or gold medal depending on the quality of the virtual wine they make. If it's a gold medal they can submit the recipe and go into the draw to win a trip to the vineyard to meet with Stonehaven's winemaker and taste the wine.

Stonehaven simultaneously released a CD that includes a virtual tour of the vineyard.

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