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Are you buying wine by the label?

When picking wine, what is the most important thing you are looking for? The grape varietal, the region, the name of producer, the winery? Or is it a design of label that catch your attention first? I have to admit that I get influenced by the art of labels often.

I appreciate if the label is beautiful. Just like we learned in early age that cloths can make the image of a man, marketing people learned very quickly that consumers buy products based on its packaging. And why wouldn’t we? Especially in the wine world, where there are so many wines to choose from?

Would you put a bottle with generic label on your holiday table, or would you rather choose something that is visually impressive ? How important is the label for your wine purchase?

When I think about wine I tasted, the visual part comes to my memory first. When I come to the wine store, and look for new wines, the most beautiful labels catch my attention. Then I read the information on the label.

Of course, the question is – what is a beautiful label? It could mean different things to different people. It is as subjective as the taste of the wine. Thank God, wine labels don’t have to follow some “newest fashion trends” or compete on the runway. But who knows, maybe somebody will come up with that idea….

Do you prefer very classic labels (like the traditional French or Italian houses) or do you like to be surprised with a new artistic trends? Simplicity, class, elegance? Do you like shiny labels? Or as simple as possible?

I am picking just a few examples of labels here that I find beautiful (and of course, there are many more that I don’t have enough space to show). Could the label be misleading as well? Oh yeah, most definitely. I have already made that mistake few times – buying wine based on a beautiful label and when opened the bottle, the wine was disappointment.

It is virtually impossible to never make a mistake when buying wines – especially when you’re exploring new wines. Even your favorite winery could have a bad year or change of winemaker.

That’s what is so exciting about wine – it will never taste exactly the same every single vintage. I am always tasting in the wine store when offered – the worse thing that could happen is that you’re not going to like the wine. Better than find out at home, after I spent money on it.

How about funky names and labels? Is that something you enjoy or does it turn you off when buying wine? Marilyn Monroe bottle (does she really get naked when you open that expensive box?) or series wines, or just crazy names like Jealous Bitch (would you buy it for your girlfriend?)

I have to admit – it does turn me off. When I see wine named Frog’s Piss (yeah, it truly exists), Horse’s Ass, Big Ass Red or Fat Bastard (which, by the way, is really good inexpensive wine) – in many cases it doesn’t inspire me to grab a bottle.

Do you bring something like that to your friends for dinner? But what do I know, maybe I am missing out.

There are few wines though, despite funky names and a low price tag, that might pleasantly surprise you. I remember convincing some serious wine drinker about Spanish wine called Wrongo Dongo. Yeah, it had really funky label too. This guy wouldn’t touch it and I just happened to have it open and tasted it in the store.

“Just take a sip,” I was begging him. “You will be really surprised.” This rich Garnacha from Southern Spain, Jumilla region was regularly winning in tastings among wines double the price. And yes, he ended up buying a case of it….

As prejudice as I could be towards wine labels, I was also pleasantly surprised with wine line from Chile, called Oops. That name wasn’t too compelling to me either. Until I actually tasted the wines and saw the label.

Even their White Carmenere (when I heard that, I was convinced that it’s going to be a variety of White Zinfandel) – nothing couldn’t be farther from truth! This pleasant Carmenere – and its blends are over delivering for the price.

And, their labels are kind of cute too. It says the story of the “oops” situation – when they actually found out that the vineyard, long confused for Merlot, was planted with Carmenere grape as well.My apology to all those designers of gorgeous wine labels that I didn’t have enough space to place here.

There are so many wine labels that are truly beautiful piece of art. And naturally, we like to look at beautiful things. If the wine taste great on top of it, that’s just a cherry on top of the cake, isn’t it?

If you’re like me, you might like to keep some labels in your wine journal – but how to get them off? I am using Wine label savers that helps to take off the label without damaging it, and you are left with a laminated wine label, with a sticky foil to seal it directly to your tasting journal.


The Local Wine Events company just came up with a nice idea – they started a new website called Wine Label World – it’s an online library of wine labels! What a splendid idea (how come I didn’t come up with that?!).

It will help those who remember the label but couldn’t remember the name of the wine. This website offers wineries to post their wine labels with tasting notes – and wine lovers can write their own reviews. I love it!

2 thoughts on “Are you buying wine by the label?”

  1. Thanks! My blog was more about the optical effect on our eyes and mind,when choosing wine, but the information on the label is of course also something to pay attention to…

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  2. Yes. By carefully reading the label, you will be able to serve the wine at the correct room temperature. Doing so will allow you and your guests to enjoy savoring the wine and all its hidden flavors.

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