An attractive and user-friendly website selling fine wines.

Seckford Wines, one of the largest UK stockists of fine and rare wine from around the world, was founded in 1981 by Chairman Richard Harvey-Jones. The wine list is indeed impressive, as is their grasp of the potential business advantages of the new electronic media: not only is the website attractive and user-friendly, but they claim their online stock list is updated every two hours.

A small navigation panel is located top-left of the homepage and on every main lower-level page on the site. It offers access to the site’s main sub-sections, and includes a Speed Search Site box: a drop-down index of the site allowing instant access to specific pages. Some lower level pages don’t have the navigation panel, but at least there is always a link back to home. Full details, sometimes a photograph of the label, and usually a tasting note pop up in a small window whenever the Info button on the wine list is clicked.

WHAT'S ON OFFER

The Wine List Seckford deal only in fine wines. They are strong in all areas, listing over 1,000 wines, some available in cases only, but also lots of odd bottles — handily, one of the search options is to retrieve only oddments if you are seeking just the odd special bottle. There's nothing much below £100 per case, and prices soar into the stratosphere at the top end of their list, but this is the collectible cream of the wine world.

The Service Seckford will try wherever possible to dispatch same day for all orders received before 2pm. Unless otherwise requested, UK orders will be dispatched via 48-hr courier.

Product Information Beside each wine in the wine list is a little Info symbol. Clicking opens up a separate little window with good information on each wine, including an independent tasting note by one of the world's best known authorities. These seem to be presented warts 'n all. For example one note by the writer Clive Coates on an old claret Seckford are selling says 'now past it' - and that was written in 1987! If the info symbol is coloured grey, there is no information available.

The Ordering Process Seckford is not yet a full e-commerce site. Instead, your order details are sent to Seckford by email and the order is completed by email, telephone or fax. Against each wine is an Order button. Click on this and a window pops up showing the wine and asking you to enter how many bottles/cases you require. Once you've done that, click on Continue and the pop-up window closes. At this point you can continue shopping, or go to the top or foot of the page where you will find an option to Complete order. The next screen captures name and address details, then Next brings up an order confirmation screen. Once satisfied, click on Next again and your order is sent by email.

More Than The Hard Sell? Not a lot of extra reference material here, though the wine information is useful in that it quotes opinions on the wines from the world's best-known critics.