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Cruvee’s done it again, and wins the 2010 Diaz Communications Innovator of the Year Award

The 2009 Diaz Communications Innovator of the Year Award went to Paul Mabray of VinTank, for revolutionizing the way wine purchases can be made; i.e., over the Internet. Remember the days of faxing in orders?

Now, Cruvee has just upped the ante with its Application for sales within the realm of social media, by launching its unprecedented Facebook application for wineries. This application brings YourWineYourWay to the most popular social media platform known to humankind… Facebook.

Jose and I are really pleased to announce our 2010 Diaz Communications “Pioneering Innovator and Digital Think Tank Leader” award to Evan Cover of Cruvee.

When I told Evan about this award, he was completely humbled, having this to say,

This absolutely amazing and really unexpected. Thank you very much! I would love to include James Jory in this post as being a major part of our team, and quite honestly deserves as much, if not more, credit than I.

In the beginning of 2009, we [at VinTank] became aware of James’s company, not to mention his high level of technology skills, affinity for wine, and overall sick brilliance when they were mixed together! For all of those reasons (as well as being a truly great person) we decided to acquire his company, Scrugy, and bring him on full time as our Chief Technology Officer, and have not looked back since!

I’m extremely honored to be given such an award…especially as it comes from you both as well as behind the likes of Paul Mabray.


Wine Companies, most especially if you’re an artisan winery, you need to pay really close attention to this…

Participating wineries are now able to promote and market their wines directly on their Facebook fan page, something absolutely amazing for wine companies… Most especially the small, artisan type.

Cruvee has been a constant advocate for the digital success of wine, since day-one of coming into being.

They’ve just announced their newest innovation, “the launch of another tool intended to further the reach and digital power of wineries, a Facebook Application that accurately displays and markets wines on wineries’ Facebook Fan Pages.”

As part of their YourWineYourWay movement to return control to and accuracy of wineries’ data, images, brands and information, this application will link to a winery’s complimentary YourWineYourWay account that houses all its detailed wine information and then publish it on its Facebook fan page.

According to Cruvee’s Evan Cover,

“Participating wineries can now add a ‘Wines’ tab to their Facebook page that describes their wines and directly links to a purchasing opportunity, enriching their presence on the premier social network and significantly increasing their ability to convert their fans to actual consumers.

“This Facebook application adds another (and much more significant) channel to the YourWineYourWay movement, which is currently active in distributing data developed and managed by wineries to a network of over 50 partners including mobile applications, wine e-tailers, wholesalers/distributors, social networks, wine portals, and more. Accurate, consistent and rich information has long been a problem for the wine industry and Cruvee continues to innovate using technology. With a Facebook application, they promote this solution to the largest audience possible.”

This is definitely the kind of innovation that should be rewarded by the wine industry as being another innovative creation coming from Cruvee.

Some highlights of this application:

  • Wineries won’t have to fuss with updating information on multiple sites. With one change on YourWineYourWay.com, Facebook and all 50+ wine platforms are updated.
  • Wines are linked to wineries’ ecommerce sites for immediate conversion opportunities.
  • This application lists the highly detailed YourWineYourWay.com product information including images, reviews, tasting notes, composition etc.

And… it’s Free!

To sign up for this application, wineries must first have an account on YourWineYourWay. All the instructions on implementing the Facebook application are provided there. If you’re ready to get started, get the application here.

Paul Mabray explains the Economics of OwnIT from OwnIT- Your Wine Your Way on Vimeo.

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24 Responses to “Cruvee’s done it again, and wins the 2010 Diaz Communications Innovator of the Year Award”

  1. Rick Bakas says:

    The Cruvee Facebook tab could be a good thing in association with Your Wine Your Way. Not sure the idea should win ‘Innovator of Year’ when it’s only been around for a week or two.

    It’ll take time to see how it plays out and if consumers adopt it.

  2. tom merle says:

    Taking nothing away from Evan’s stellar initiative, but in the interest of spreading path-breaking technology info that can aid wineries, your readers should also know about Payvment that allows buyers to stay on Facebook to make the sale. http://www.payvment.com/facebook/

    Some vintners may prefer this, some may want to have would be buyers taken to the winery’s actual website.

  3. Jo Diaz says:

    Yes, it will take time to play itself out.

    I was there when wines first became sold over the internet, and there was so much skepticism and concern at the time… So, I get where you’re coming from, Rick, most especially since you left the wine blogging world behind, as a passion, and turned it into a “real job.” Now, you’re one of us within the world of wine, and you know how important those wine sales are. Our jobs depend on sales… Sales turn the wheels of all companies.

    While there may be some bugs that need to be worked out, the innovative thrust to begin doing this is the first of its kind within the social media world, and I r-e-a-l-l-y believe its on its way. I also believe it’s going to succeed, because it has to do with sales (more than PR).

    Sales will come slowly, because it’s so new. Early adopters will jump right one, late adopters will follow, and laggards will eventually go out of business, because they never innovate.

    Let’s talk five years from now…

    Meanwhile, Jose and I celebrate the innovation, the thinking process that went behind this project, the programming efforts, the passion, and the dedication.

  4. Jo Diaz says:


    As long as a sales happens using social media, that’s what everyone is hoping for within the wine world, real truth being told.

    Very interesting site, Thanks. I hadn’t seen this one yet.

    The one thing that Cruvee has done from my perspective, that has important credibility, is that they’re always thinking, “Wine.” That helps our industry, because Cruvee know our nuances, being in our business… It’s akin to finding a brain surgeon versus a general practitioner, for something very specific.

  5. Rick Bakas says:

    We took a look at Payvment and tried it out for 30 days to see how it fit. That’s not nearly enough time to see how well it could work, but ultimately we chose to not use it any longer.

    Inside the wine industry and outside the wine industry, companies will look for the right tool to sell online, and on Facebook. Payvment is meant to be a solution across multiple industries, not necessarily wine. The question I have (and the reason we discontinued using it) is seeing whether or not a FB fan page is the right place to drive online sales. I’m not convinced it is.

    An award like this should be given to a proven innovator with a track record and proof of concept. This feels more like a promotion veiled as an award. At least that’s my opinion.

    PS. I didn’t leave the wine blogging world. I’m still blogging almost every day 🙂

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Rick, thanks for your feedback, because from someone inside the industry who’s used Payvment for a month, you have a bit of experience with a tool designed for another option for direct sales.

    I know of many companies that are jumping on board with YourWineYourWay… most especially the smaller ones… because they need all the help they can get with their wine sales to stay alive.

    Facebook pages, while they bring the warm and fuzzy to consumers, are viewed – by our clients – as a place to offer their wines for some “special” reason, and increase their sales. We help clients successfully do this all the time.

    What’s really cool about this new tool is that it now takes consumers directly to their wine store. Before this innovation, my husband had to write the code for that to happen for our clients. Now, Jose doesn’t have to write that code, anymore. Just click here, and it’s a done deal for them.

    *That’s* the innovation… replacing my husband’s labor (and our profitability) to give wineries another option for making their wine available for purchase.

    So, maybe I shouldn’t be praising this so openly?

    Nope, still gonna do it, because Jose will now find other things to get into for marketing our clients wines and increasing their sales.

    We’re so new to this type of sales option, that it’s going to take *years* for it to catch up with itself. (I just had to fax copy to someone last week, because he doesn’t have an Email address, yet.) But… I do believe that it ultimately will be an everyday occurrence, and people will have one more option for selling their wines.

    Yes, you are still blogging… My error to make it sound like you’re not still blogging. You’re definitely still there… and in lots more places.

    It would be a promotion, if I gave this to one of our clients. I’m not on Cruvee’s payroll… I just know they’re so groovie…

    Today, I’m celebrating Evan Cover, because he’s working tirelessly for years on behalf of the industry, and he’s successfully fitting in.

  7. Paul Mabray says:

    This was such a kind gesture recognizing the hard work that Evan and James do through Cruvee.com. As everyone knows I am on the BOD, they are a client, and we have even invested in the organization. I am obviously biased but I do think they are doing amazing things for wineries and wine consumers and I see their late nights and weekends working hard to make a difference.

    Rick. Here is a quick bite for you. As you have said, they tirelessly work to try to help the industry through Cruvee for over 18 months. #trackrecord Thier social media monitoring platform has helped about 400 wineries (from the largest to smallest) help engage in the conversation. And as you have mentioned in a few conferences, they are the only and best platform for this service. #trackrecord #innovation. They then started measuring aggregate online wine conversations and disseminating this to the entire wine market to help them understand wine social media. I know many people who have used this data to help their studies and efforts in doing better online. #innovation Then in Dec. of ’09 with yourwineyourway.com they have spent more countless hours trying to help the industry solve one of the most challenging problems in the online wine industry: data. And they have done it for free. #trackrecord #innovation. This new Facebook tool is just another way they try to pay it forward by investing their dollars and time to help enable wineries to, at the very least, have another tool to inform their customers about their wines and give them an opportunity to connect not only socially but through commerce. For free. #innovation

    To Evan and James. Please keep up the hard work. I have spoken to over 30 wineries in the last 72 hours and they appreciate your efforts. #grateful

  8. Jo Diaz says:


    All important information, including James’ contributions.

    Thanks for your contribution.

    I celebrate life as I see it and when I see it.

    I’ve been marketing wines for wineries for a very long time, and I come from the outside. I see things with an odd ball view (versus tried and true), and know that Evan is a very special person, whom I’d like to celebrate now.

    Did I mention I was a Girl Scout Leader for years? My kids of that period are all doing wonderful things today… I filled their sashes with badges… You can take the Girl Scout leader out of awards precess, but you can’t take the awards process out of this leader…

  9. James Jory says:


    As a tech person, it’s always rewarding to build products and be part of a team that others consider innovative. Thank you for recognizing Evan’s hard work over the last couple years and the impact our services are having on the industry.

    I must say, however, that I have been surprised with how unanimously the Facebook application is being received by wineries (sans Rick, apparently) and those such as yourself that work in the industry. Publish a detailed list of my wines on my FB fan page so the 400M+ FB users can learn more about my products and convert some of my fans into customers? It’s a no brainer. As one of the wineries using the app said, “it’s like having a new website inside Facebook.”

    But is a Facebook application for wineries really innovative? No, not really. What I think everyone is missing, though, and what I feel is truly innovative here is what the Cruvee Facebook application exemplifies.

    Let me use the iceberg analogy. What we have been working so hard on for the last several months is building the foundation of an iceberg. We have created videos, talked at conferences, and built yourwineyourway.com to tell the industry about the potential of this enormous iceberg and what can be built upon it. But, like the foundation of a building, it’s hard for people to grasp since it’s below the surface. Well, we’re starting to see some tips of the iceberg above the surface and this Facebook application is the most visible example yet. You see, I wasn’t able to build this FB app in a couple days because I code really fast. I was able to build it so quickly because the foundation of Cruvee and YourWineYourWay was there for me to use. In reality anyone could have built this FB app on top of Cruvee because of the openness of our system. I used our own APIs (application programming interfaces) to tap into the data in Cruvee. And this is precisely what our 50+ partners are doing to use the data in Cruvee in their applications. When data is changed in Cruvee, it is automatically updated in the FB app and available to all Cruvee partners. We’re putting control of wine data back into the winery’s hands and giving them access to push that data through our distribution channels. That is unprecedented what I think is innovative for our industry.

    Coming back to the FB app, it’s true that larger wineries or enterprise wine companies with IT budgets could probably emulate the FB app we have built. But they still wouldn’t be on the iceberg. Like on their website, the content in their FB app is locked in yet another place. But what about the small winery that barely has the time to keep their website updated or may not even have a website? What does this app mean for them? Could this app BE their website? Is Cruvee their very own IT department?

    Nah! Nothing innovative here. Move along. 😉


  10. Jo Diaz says:

    James… excellent.

    I understand Rick’s reaction… in a historical sort of way, and this is not meant to diminish all that he’s accomplished to this point in time. What I’m about to write has to be taken in the spirit of how it’s intended, and that’s that I’ve been around the block a few more times than most bloggers… maybe not in blogging (Dec. 2005), but in marketing (since the 80s). When I first started working my first winery job, I thought that the tasting room represented the winery in the most major way. Then, I got put into sales, traveled to 40 states (and still counting), and saw my brand outside of California. That made it look so much smaller than I imagined in retrospect. Then, I began to move from one winery to the next, and it made my original job even smaller… while my understanding of all wine got even bigger. Then, I began my own company and worked for 20 bosses at the same time. Then, I began an advocacy group and interface with over 80 wine companies, plus my client base… all day long… since 2001.

    From this view, I see what you have and where you’re going.

    From this view, I hear my marketing husband, who works with multiple wine companies all day long, advising the smallest of them to just start a Facebook page, and let that be their ENTIRE Website.

    This is why from this view, I get it. With another 17 years under anyone’s belt, it’s easier to grasp innovation, regardless of your “Nah! Nothing innovative here. Move along.” I’m here to defend what can be defended… A great idea, a move forward for those less financially endowed by others, and keep handing out those scout badges to those who are deserving. 😉

  11. tom merle says:

    OK I’ll fess up. I mentioned Payvment because of this:

  12. tom merle says:


    You make the consideration to place some wine wares on FB an either/or choice, when it seems, as James argues, a both/and decision. And couple these new transactional options with all the complementary social media connections offered by Facebook. I don’t get your push back. Flesh out your reaction if you would.


  13. Jo Diaz says:

    Tom, I’d buy anything they were selling if I were a guy, were into women, or wanted what they were selling… I see where you’re coming from. Too funny.

  14. James Jory says:


    Thanks for that clarification on Payvment. And the distraction too. 🙂

    Although I think Payvment has done a nice job integrating a shopping cart within the FB platform, the constraints of living inside FB (as an app) bring with it significant friction points that also must be considered. The biggest issue I see right off the bat is that shoppers have to accept the Payvment app and grant Payvment access to their FB profile before even seeing a product detail. Having spent over 10 years building e-commerce storefronts used by more than 50K merchants, I have spent considerable time implementing various check out flows, sales conversion strategies, doing abandoned cart analysis, cross-sell/up-sell techniques, and the like. Having to “accept” the Payvment app so early in the shopping experience is a killer for me. This is a gate that prevents the shopper from seeing shipping costs/options, sales tax estimates, promotion opportunities, up-sell opportunities, and more. These are significant elements to closing an online sale.

    I don’t mean to slam Payvment. My criticism is really pointed more at the requirements and reality of building FB apps and how it relates to e-commerce on FB.


  15. tom merle says:

    Yes, James, I come down on your side; send the would be buyer over to the winery’s website where awaits all sorts of information plus the total cost info of shipping and taxes. This more than offsets any advantage of “staying on Facebook” as promoted by the Payvment founder in his video.

    I don’t have your experience, but as Paul Mabray knows, I have been a big believer in full disclosure up front which IBG never had until they decided to partner with Vin 65.


  16. Rick Bakas says:

    Hi Tom,

    You asked about my push back in an earlier comment. Really, there’s no push back for this new Cruvee/Facebook feature.

    My comment was more about wanting to understand what this award is and what the criteria is. How does someone win it? Who else was in the running? Things like that.

    If the award was for all that Evan and James have done with Cruvee over the past year, then yeah, that calls for recognition. If the award was just for this new FB feature, then I’d say it’s too early to tell. I’m confused because the blog post seems to indicate it’s for the FB feature.

    The reason I said I wasn’t convinced this was the best solution is because it’s the only solution (for now). And I wonder if wineries are aware how much of their customer data they’re giving away to Cruvee and Vintank when they integrate this stuff. That’s what make it free to wineries.

    In the interest of social media, transparency and disclosure to anyone reading this thread: Paul and I don’t think much of each other for various reasons. We probably won’t be sending each other Christmas cards this year. But I have a great deal of respect for the rest of the Vintank team: Ashely, Adrian, Clay and Evan are great at what they do. I hope Evan and James are successful with this.

  17. Jo Diaz says:

    Hi, Rick,

    So… you hit it when you said, “If the award was for all that Evan and James have done with Cruvee over the past year…”

    The first award was given to Paul, after a conversation we had we had about a magazine giving an “innovator of the year” award. In reference to the award, Paul said (almost thinking out loud), “That will be the day when I get that kind of an award.” Being old enough to be his mom (your mom, too), having raised my three daughers, my Girls Scouts (my day camp had 200 kids and my staff was 50 adult women), having taught anatomy and physiology to young adults for five years… I’ve seen a lot of younger people in my life achieve their goals, and I’ve always been there to say, “Attaboy” or “Attagirl.”

    I created the award. Jose and I chuckled about creating it; when Paul received it, he was so touched that it made me realize… we all love to have someone recognize our hard work along the way.

    I’ve not put it out to a crew to administer, and it’s a very private thing for me, based on my relationships within the business… I’ve got lots of them.

    I’ve also had what I consider a strong relationship with Evan… talking about what he was up to, writing about his journey, knowing how hard a worker and thinker he is, and how devoted to this industry he is. He’s been in my mind since last year for this one… As you’ve been in my mind since you got your job.

    I’ve sent a few communications to you, but you must have been settling into your job and they slipped into a spam filter. We’ve not really connected, yet. I’m also very aware of your journey… from A Very Goode Job until now… Perhaps some day our paths will cross, and you can give me your own details and thoughts. I love hearing what you all have to say and think. This younger generation inspires me… Just as my daughters did and still do. You’ve all got so much to give, some being more creative than others… Like you, Paul, Evan, and James.

    Keep up the great work, and love living the life in Napa…

  18. Evan Cover says:


    I understand your thought process about wanting to know about this award, and I appreciate the discourse.

    However, I need to make sure that you and everyone else are fully educated on the workings of Facebook and of our relationship with them.

    To make this crystal clear, your comment: “And I wonder if wineries are aware how much of their customer data they’re giving away to Cruvee and Vintank when they integrate this stuff. That’s what make it free to wineries” is unfortunately wrong and terribly misleading. If you read the comment that James Jory made, we take all of the data that is supplied in the Cruvee/OwnIT platform and simply republish it to a wineries’ fan page. The application itself gives us absolutely ZERO customer information as it is hosted on the winery’s fan page not on an individual’s account. An example of an application that does get personal customer information is similar to Payvment as they ask you to accept their application to your account. We actually drive all purchase requests (through winery-supplied buy links) directly back to a winery ecommerce platform or shopping cart. We want all wineries to have control over their online branding and marketing message (be it on Facebook or any other social site, mobile app, etc.), which is why we offer this for free.

    It is our role as leaders to clarify the impact of these types of tools and services to help wineries succeed online.

    I do appreciate you wishing us success with this and Cruvee itself, and I also wanted to officially thank Jo for the recognition.

  19. Jo Diaz says:

    Boy, talk about fleshing it out… I LOVE it!

  20. Rick Bakas says:

    Evan, sorry about the confusion. Thanks for clarifying.

  21. tom merle says:


    My query about ‘pushback’ had to do with this quote not the award: “The question I have (and the reason we discontinued using it [Payvment]) is seeing whether or not a FB fan page is the right place to drive online sales. I’m not convinced it is.” I wanted to know about your reservation about being on Facebook. It now seems you have a concern about data access, which Evan has now clarified.

  22. This is a fantastic application! I’ll help spreading the word in Southern Italy among the small artisan wineries who may find this very useful!
    thank you

  23. Evan Cover says:

    Cinzia- I am very happy to hear that you find the app very useful. It has been highly adopted by both domestic and international wineries over the past week and we expect even higher results over the coming weeks. We believe that wineries now have a vehicle to sell through the most powerful social network around. I appreciate you spreading the word about the application.


  24. Jo Diaz says:

    Evan… How amazing this is that Cinzia responded…. We’re such a small world today, and I didn’t even think about the international implications this app would have. Now, it totally makes sense, but I was only thinking nationally when we first communicated about it. Very cool…

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