Modern day alchemy is very simple. Add the suffix ‘.com’ to any business title or catchy phrase, and millions of dollars will be conjured up from the depths of the financial funding pool. Naturally, wine and spirits companies are eager to find out the real potential of notional value, which was probably why a recent seminar dedicated to e-commerce, organised by Harper’s Trade Journals, at the LIWTF 2000, was so heavily oversubscribed. “E-commerce – will it make or break your company? Both,” said virginwines.com’s CEO, Rowan Gormley, based on the premise that the enormous, initial investment to launch any e-business will “put vast strains on the business”.

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