Guild of Sommeliers creates membership value by keeping its digital community updated with the latest technology, custom fixes, and necessary third-party integrations.

The Guild of Sommeliers (GoS) is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the excellence and professional development of people working in the US wine trade.

The member-run group operates through events and an online community – created using the Telligent platform – where valuable information can be exchanged to help broaden knowledge of the world’s wine regions, improve service, and keep the members up-to-date on industry news and trends.

“We do run in-person events, but the website is what the organisation is really about,” said Geoff Kruth, chief operating officer of the GoS. “When people take out or renew membership, they’re doing so primarily because of the access to our community and online resources.”

As part of its drive to offer members the highest possible service quality, the GoS needs its online community to be responsive to the needs of users. To ensure this, the site requires regular updates, appropriate customisations and integrations to enhance its usefulness.


“The website was launched in 2008, but as we grew, we needed to work with an online community specialist who knew Telligent well, that led us to 4 Roads,” added Kruth.

“We’re not a big organisation, not technical, so it’s essential for us to have the very best specialist help to conduct upgrades, add customisations, and integrate third-party software.”

One of the key developments overseen by 4 Roads was the upgrade of the existing customer database. For simpler and more intuitive user management, the GoS wanted to shift to a recognised CRM solution and have this integrated with its existing online community.

4 Roads took on the project of integrating the community backend with Salesforce. These two principal websites also then needed to be integrated with to enable a seamless payment solution for fees gathering.

Now, when a new account is created in the community, one is also automatically created in Salesforce. The integration also allows administrators to manage Salesforce via the backend of the community through a series of customised forms created by 4 Roads.

In addition to the Salesforce integration, 4 Roads has upgraded the GoS community through several versions of the Telligent platform, created unique widgets, and customised third-party software and key design elements to ensure a good fit within the community environment.

There have also been further smart integrations through the addition of plugins for the Apple News publishing platform and to enable quizzes to run across the community.

The Apple News plugin allows community managers to post selected articles to Apple News. Prior to publishing on Apple News, editors can add offers and relevant calls to action into posts. Apple News service users can then subscribe and access content on their iOS devices.

Throhg use of the plugin for online training and quiz solution ProProfs, GoS can run quizzes, retrieves results, then assign badges to community users based on their scores.

"“A well-executed digital community is something that no membership organization should be without and we look forwards to continuing to support Geoff and his team in the future to continue the success.” "

Rob Nash, founder and CEO of 4 Roads.


The GoS makes use of all major features offered Telligent including blogs, wikis, media galleries, forums. Through these channels it offers expertise, a wealth of study guides, and up-to-the-minute information about the wine industry.

Membership entitles an individual to read every piece of content and make use of full community access to dig into the knowledge of others in the profession.

With an online community that’s always up to date – and by maintaining full access to useful features and content – the GoS ensures a high-quality user experience and keeps its membership growing year on year.

Within its first year, the online community attracted 500 new members. By year four this had grown to 3,500, and membership now stands at 13,000 with the Guild regularly growing the community by 20 per cent each year.

The GOS plans to continue this steady development through further upgrades of the Telligent platform.

“In an age where membership organizations need to provide more than paper publications and discounts for their members, the Guild of Sommeliers has built a digital community that supports and engages its membership through digital experiences,” said Rob Nash, founder and CEO of 4 Roads.

“A well-executed digital community is something that no membership organization should be without and we look forwards to continuing to support Geoff and his team in the future to continue the success.”

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