New site live…

Our new web site has gone live today – just!

I do the technical side of our business myself. I’ve got a history of programming and web production so it’s part of my “job” to do it and I’m glad I do – most of the time! When it goes well, it’s great to be able to quickly make changes to our site. It gives us a cutting edge over other web sites who have to get another company in to do the work for them which is slower and costs more.

Of course, I have to take the rough with the smooth and the last 24 hours or so have been pretty rough.

We’ve been working on our new site for a long time and last night decided to make it live. This is a pretty big, all-or-nothing sort of thing. Although in the absolute worst case, we could roll back to the old site, it would mean a lot of hard work to do so. Basically once the new site is live, it’s live and if anything goes wrong it has to be fixed, quickly.

Well, it went live last night and I went to bed at 2am this morning thinking everything was fine. I woke up to find no orders. Something was wrong.

The problem was customers couldn’t add products to their basket. Which, obviously, meant no sales.

I spent all morning trying to find the problem. Eventually I had to re-upload all the code from our development server and, for no obvious reason, it worked… Phew…

Then, about an hour or so ago, I found it had gone again! I really couldn’t work out why. Nothing, I thought, had changed. It just seemed to stop.

So, two more frustrating hours and eventually the problem was traced to an upgrade of WordPress – this blog – which I had done just before I went to bed last night, and just before the problem started again this evening…

Something was causing a conflict and it meant customers couldn’t shop. It was really simple to fix. Once I found out what it was! Such is life…

Anyway, the site is now live and we hope you like it. We’re really proud of it. We think it looks great and is easier to use than the old site.

There may well be the odd bug (hopefully not as serious as the one that caused us to lose a day’s sales today!) and if you do find anything not quite right, please do contact us and let us know.

And if you have any feedback on the new site – good OR bad – please get in touch and tell us what you think.


Put in my place

I was at a party on Saturday night to celebrate the 60th birthday of a long-time friend of ours. A good time was had by all, including those of us who didn’t drink alcohol.

It certainly made a change to go to a party and be able to enjoy a glass of de-alcoholised wine and a cold beer. The host had stocked up on some of our drinks and many guests took advantage of them. It also made a change to not have drunken people say “Why are you not drinking? What’s wrong with you?” which is common if you are seen with a soft drink in your hand.

With a glass of de-alcoholised wine or beer in your hand, no one is any the wiser and they just get on with having a good time.

Ever better was seeing a couple of people pouring out some of the Weinkonig Merlot I had brought along, taking a sip, and then walking away happy – completely unaware they were drinking de-alcoholised wine.

To get to the title of this blog “Put in my place” I was told off by a friend of the host, who is also a customer of ours, because I hadn’t updated the blog much recently. I did apologise to her, and do also to you. We have had a lot to do recently with the shop and warehouse move, getting the new shop ready, etc.

I’ve also personally been busy on our new web site which is due to go live very soon. It’s based on the same site we have now, with an improved design and the odd enhancement to make your shopping experience better (for instance, you will be able to add items to your basket from the category listing without having to click on to the individual item).

When the site goes live, please don’t panic! Yes, it looks quite different from the current site on first glance, but it does basically work the same as the current site and you shouldn’t have any problems shopping as normal. If you do though, please let us know. We have worked hard to get the site ready and bug-free, but it’s always possible something may still be wrong when it goes live and we’d appreciate it very much if you would tell us of any problems you find so we can fix them.