I was reading my latest issue of Decanter magazine not long ago and came across an article about how people choose wine by what’s on the label. Lately, I have heard the term “label buyers” used more frequently. I thought about the term and why people might be called a “label buyer” and came up with the following thoughts:
- Some people pick wine by the label due to a lack of wine experience. They may know some popular brand names so those are the wines they select or they choose a label because it draws them in with interesting artwork or an interesting name.
- Others also lack wine experience but want to impress someone so they pick an expensive label to do so.
- Some pick a brand they have heard of or tasted before. Best-sellers in the wine world are usually popular for a reason (great winery marketing, consistent quality, etc.)
- A label drinker can also be someone with the financial wherewithal to purchase higher-end wines to put them to the test and decide if they care for them or not. Beginning with the best in order to test the wine is a sensible strategy.
To test my theories, I thought about my own buying habits and how much I relied on the label to make my own wine purchases. I am sure that in the early days of my wine drinking career I bought wine more by the label due to my lack of experience. I am also sure that there were times when I might have bought a special label to impress others. As I have become more and more wine savvy, I rely less on the label or brand, although it is helpful to have knowledge of any number of brands and labels. I select wines more on the grape varieties, the blend of the wine, and my own personal tasting experience or knowledge of the wine.
I do, at times seek out top labels as a means to broaden my wine knowledge and expand my wine drinking window. Often when ordering a bottle of wine in a restaurant I ask to see the bottle so I can look at the labels to see if they will provide me any information on the wine.
Why Wine Labels Are Important:
In a recent study (featured on the podcast “Bottle Talk with Rick & Paul”) on the topic of “what factors people consider when purchasing wine,” it turned out that labels really matter. More than 80% of the people surveyed picked a bottle of wine based on the label’s look and 65% reported they chose wine based on how expensive they thought the wine looked. In my opinion a bottle label is the number one thing that contributes to how the wine bottle looks, besides the bottle shape and color. Many times the label is the only resource a buyer has for evaluating a bottle of wine prior to purchasing it. The reason: all the information contained on the label. This includes information such as country of origin, type of wine, alcohol level, producer, wine blend and other vintage specific information.
I believe label design is very important. We have redone our label design three times over the years in an effort to make our Glenwood Cellars and Tiedemann labels more attractive and eye catching. Building brand recognition is very important (especially to label buyers) and your bottle labels are a major part of that effort.
Some wineries place greater importance on their label design than others. Some Old World wineries haven’t changed their label design in years. Others change them yearly or every couple of years.
In the past five years Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become major marketing tools for wineries. Social media has made us all label drinkers. Lots of people, myself included, post pictures of our wine bottles or the wines we are drinking on social media all the time. A major portion of our wine marketing efforts is posting bottle shots on social media. Having attractive labels and great photographs of your products becomes even more important because of social media and the ability to share your message around the world with like-minded people.
Do you consider yourself a label buyer? Have you chosen a wine recently because of the way a label looked? What is the number one reason you choose to buy a specific wine? I am curious to hear what compels you to choose one wine over another.
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Until next week,
Calendar of Events
- September 20 – International Grenache Day
- November 7 – International Merlot Day
- November 14 – International Tempranillo Day
- November 20 – International Zinfandel Day
- December 4 – Cabernet Franc Day
- December 20 – National Sangria Day
- December 31 – National Champagne Day