Tasting Room staff should be label wise!

Posted on May 03, 2017

Tasting Room Staff should be label wise!

Right... so what do we mean by this? Have you ever visited a tasting room somewhere - anywhere and wondered what the story behind their label or any one of their range of labels in fact might be?  We are not referring to the back label in this case of course, but the actual story that lead to the design and compilation of the label itself?

Being in the labelling industry we are often privy to some of the most amazing (and untold) stories of the wine industry – an absolute privilege in fact. Amongst the hundreds of stories that lie tucked beneath the label of a wine we have experience some of the most amazing revelations.  For instance, labels in honour of family members that have passed, in some cases in honour of family pets that have passed. Some labels pay tribute to specific people that were iconic in the history of the estate, and some depict an aspect or story of the farm or its unique history. We have seen labels that bare the artwork of winemakers’ children; we have seen tremendous works of art done by renowned artists, created specifically for that wine. Labels about tradition, family heirlooms, beliefs, awareness, animal rights, human rights, South African history, poetry, music, ghosts, mountains, rivers, wars, events, and the list goes on!.  Our question here is, why are these stories not always shared with guests in the tasting room?


In our opinion, the label is very much a part of the wine, a part of its story and an extension of the farm. As for that common old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover” – this should NOT apply to wine – never, ever at all. In fact you often should judge a bottle by its label! A bottle of wine wears its label like a story, its reputation and even an element of its class is what is perceived, whether cognitively or subconsciously, in the label.  Judgemental rankings or classifications may well differ from individual to individual, but any person will upon looking at a label, process a thought relating to their personal classification of that label within seconds. This is often a grey area in terms of marketing aspects within the design elements, but hey, you can’t please them all!  It is however at this very early glimpse of a stage that you may capture someone’s attention or not.

Tasting rooms have certainly upped their game in the last few years, thanks to competition and our healthy tourism industry! But there is a clear step up especially in terms of wine knowledge, tasting presentations, tasting room design, pairings available, wine notes, displays, customer service, added extras, etc. However - and this is not related to any specific tasting room – not everyone has thought of the importance in sharing their label stories! 

It is commonly understood, or perceived perhaps that when a guest walks into a tasting room, they are there to taste your wines, hear about the wine itself, the winemaker, the price and possibly what they should pair it with. In some cases guests may even ask about the farm, the history, your traditions, wine making processes, technical details (especially those who don’t know a Cab Sav from a Sauvignon Blanc) and of course who owns the farm!  But how many actually ask what the label is all about?

Perhaps not too many, and maybe this is why the story is not automatically divulged as a rule. But can you imagine the added value the story behind your label may actually add to your guest experience? If someone can take home not only a bottle of wine, but a story that truly impressed them, amused them, or moved them in some way, then are they not more likely to go home and tell that story to someone else?  In terms of marketing calculation, this would mean that that person most likely bought a bottle (or more) – because of the story - and instead of (perhaps) mentioning your estate to another, they may well spend 5 to 10 minutes actually telling someone about you! This has just become a “no-brainer”! This is the power that the so called “word of mouth” can have. We are all dependent on this conventional yet intangible method of marketing for some element of return business – and thus by creatively feeding into its source we are more likely to experience a positive return.


In conclusion, we believe it is vital that your tasting room staff understand your labels and the stories behind them. Encourage your presenters to share these stories with your guests -  and in so doing, make their discovery of your wine a far more interesting, enjoyable and memorable one!  



Veritas Labels

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