On The Topic Of Wine Labels

Posted on November 21, 2016

Now let’s see... Besides the obvious that Wine labels are rather important sources of information about the content of the bottle – the label is often the only information the consumer has for evaluating a wine they’ve never tried before to decide whether to buy it or not.  Certain information is required without saying, such as the type of wine, country of origin, alcoholic content and the producer. After that we might like to know a little about the bottler or importer, etc.  However, it seems to have become a rather trendy thing to have a little story about the wine, or even a few pairing suggestions on the back label.  In addition to some labelling requirements, some producers may also like to include their web site address, contact details, vintage specifications, etc.  Whichever way you look at it - it really is vital component of direct marketing. (Appeal-to-the-eye advertising I call it!)

Being a bit of a self-confessed label-fanatic, I tend to take rather particular notice to these “curriculum vitas” of a bottle of wine. Perhaps it’s because I love the element of surprise, especially when a wine label seduces me so that I end up buying it - purely for its beautiful label!  At other times I’ve even bought a wine purely for the interesting facts or story the back label has added to the value!

Truth be told, and this is the sad news, some wineries really see the value of label design, whilst others simply don’t seem to get it. Have you taken notice of how many tacky, or dare we say “bland” labels there are out there? Sure, we can all appreciate a little minimalism, but there needs to be thought in that too.  My question here is:  Why spend a fortune on all other sorts of marketing, if the label itself isn’t doing any work? Then there are wineries who haven’t changed their label design for some 60 years, (yes, it works for some iconic wines we’re all familiar with) whilst others have close relationships with their designers to keep the character of a wine, yet play intelligently with the design to keep their market intrigued.

However, having said all of the above, the elegance of a label certainly does not guarantee its quality. Instead, it is the information contained within the bottle that can provide consumers with such knowledge!

Some studies have concluded that most new world consumers (mostly Europeans) prefer to purchase a bottle of wine where the label clearly states the varietal and or a brand name. Some have even said that younger wine drinkers (mainly in the US) perceived labels with “Chateaux” on them to be old fashioned!  Let’s be honest, a playful and inviting label always tends to crack the nod as a better idea for a gift than a plain – shall we say conservative one.

It certainly is a debatable topic, but an interesting one at that. Hopefully this scribbling of mine will have you taking even more notice of label designs in future – and in so doing, may you find some brilliant wines along the adventure!

Cheers to great wines – yet to be discovered!

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