Stupid Website Driving Customers Away

Sterling Vineyards is one of my favorite destinations in the Napa Valley, and it’s not about the wine.

It’s a pristine setting: interesting architecture nestled in the mountains, aerial tram ride to the top, beautiful views of the Napa Valley all make it a desirable tourist destination on its own. You can easily spend an entire lazy day there. Oh, yes, they make good wine, but it’s kind of secondary (well, to mesmile_tongue).

This being another gorgeous sunny weekend, visitors might want to check Sterling’s website for opening hours and other details. Of course the site promotes wines, but it’s not an e-commerce site, you can not order anything directly.

So why on earth do they feel the need to put up obstacles discouraging visitors from entering their website? You can’t enter without filling out the form below. What kind of bogus “protection” is this?


  1. There’s probably some legal reasoning behind it. I saw a lot of websites that in some way are tied to alcohol that have an age protection screen, although it’s useless and annoying. (example:

  2. It’s not uncommon for websites of wineries owned by publically traded companies to required visitors to enter in their birthdates. Probably has something to do with corporate responsibility for their shareholders or deals made with MADD years ago.

    I can’t recall running across a privately owned winery website require birthdates, but I could be wrong.

    It is an annoyance and obviously wouldn’t stop a 10 year old from lying. But seriously, how many 10 year olds are going to visit a winery website?

  3. It gets worse.

    Figuring that Sterling Vineyards might also want to enforce Islamic law while they’re at it, I entered a 1961 birth date with a country name of “Saudi Arabia.”

    This act sent me to a website other than that for Sterling Vineyards, probably because my ISP did not match the country that I reported.

  4. It’s a proven fact that people dislike filling up forms of any kind. Especially forms on the internet which are honestly more than a little suspicious. This is why Free Rice has been so successful. It’s a charity-based web site that provides a fun vocabulary test for surfers. Each word you get correct means a certain amount of rice donated to the less fortunate. It doesn’t have forms of any kind. You can just go ahead and play as long as you want.

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