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Let’s Talk Wine Labels

November 11, 2019 Leave a comment

How are you with the wine labels?

Speaking for myself, I love wine labels a lot more that I would even admit. Everybody knows that we eat with our eyes first – this is why good restaurants go out of their way to present their food in the best possible way.

The same is true for the wines – and I’m not talking about the wine in the glass. Let’s leave aside the situation when we are looking for a specific wine. You walk into the wine store and first and foremost you notice the wine labels. I don’t know how this works for you, but speaking strictly for myself, I can’t figure out what makes wine label attractive for me. It is more of magic. Some labels have an elaborate design, and my eye simply skips them. And then there are simple, very simple labels which solicit instant reaction “oh, this is so cool”. Magic.

It appears that the effect of the wine label goes much further than an instant determination of cool/not cool and the desire to quickly grab the bottle. The wine label design also creates expectations about taste, price, quality, and lots more. Don’t take this from me. Folks at Iron Design create product labels for living. They conducted market research, which you can read about here – and summarized all the results in the form of an infographic, one of my favorite ways of presenting the information. Bunch of numbers, facts, and pictures in compact and concise form – isn’t it fun?

For what it worth, the Iron Design team was very kind letting me share the infographic in this blog, which I’m happily presenting below. And for all of you, my friends, what do you think of the impact of the wine labels on your choices and expectations?

Labels and Beyond – Creativity in the Wine World

May 28, 2016 11 comments

There is a famous Russian saying  – “meet by the clothes, part by the smarts”. Yes, I know I’m butchering the original with this translation, and typical proper analogy in English will be “Don’t judge the book by its cover” – but I wanted to emphasize that “meet by the clothes” part.

In the world of people, our first impression of the stranger is often directly related to the way the person is dressed – however, once we get into the conversation and get to know the person, the dress becomes of no importance at all – if, of course, we manage to find common ground and enjoy each other’s company. More often than not, we use clothes as a differentiator – this is our way to stand out from the crowd and get noticed – and I’m sure you all can attest – that generally works; clothes matter, especially for the first impression.

This is the wine blog, right? So let’s get to it. What are the “clothes” for wine? The bottle and the label, isn’t it? We, wine drinkers collective, are often very quick to make serious assumptions about the content of the bottle just from a quick glance at the bottle. Ahh, a cute creature? The wine must be cheap and terrible. Look at how solid this heavy bottle with black and gold label is – I’m sure the wine will be delicious. Been there, done that.

The wine today is at a pick of popularity – for sure in the US. Which means that there is more and more wine produced all the time, to the pleasure of a wine drinking public. But here also lies a flip of the silver lining – looking at the wine store shelves is overwhelming, so how can producers ensure that someone will pick the bottle of their wine? This is where the “clothes” come to the play – all other things been equal, the label and the bottle are the only differentiators winemaker got (the brand recognition of course will be superior to the label differentiators, but we should put it aside for the sake of this post). What I’m observing lately is an explosion in creativity in the wine labels, names of the wines and even the bottle shapes (or overall packaging, such as “wine in the can”). And this is what prompted this post – over the month, I came across a few wines which I felt I just wanted to share with all of you.

Here is the first one – Honoro Vera Grenache. When I saw the bottle, it was an instant “wow, that looks beautiful” – I must try it. The fact that it was Spanish Grenache (hard to go wrong with), priced at $7.99, make that decision even easier. And the wine didn’t disappoint with fresh core of the dark fruit and mocha – round and delicious.

The love of the next label might be giving away my age – but this “post card formatting” somehow always attracts my attention, as the nod to the times when people actually used paper and their hands to write, and not only to type. One look at the bottle and I knew I had to get this Bob’s Pinotage from South Africa – and of course at $6.99, the risk was minor. Pinotage used to have a lot of bad rap in the past, but this wine was delicious – fresh strawberries, hint of gaminess, medium to full body, good balance – excellent food friendly wine.

How about the label which takes guessing out of the wine enjoyment? The label on this Rosé La Princess from Provence will change when the wine will be chilled to the suggested drinking temperature, and will definitely encourage you to drink it. One would’ve thought that this is too gimmicky (and I did), and to my delight, I found classic, gentle, strawberry driven, perfectly refreshing wine in this bottle. All for $11.99.

We all know that wine and flowers make perfect gift for anyone. How about the wine which essentially includes flowers? How I mean, you ask? Take a look below – this Côte des Roses bottle features the bottom which looks like a perfect Rose flower. Going all the way, take a look at the pink glass enclosure – isn’t it beautiful? And the best part is that wine itself is a beautiful Rosé – restrained, delicate, tart and refreshing. And despite the overindulgent bottle, the wine retails for the same $11.99 – a great value for Rosé if you ask me.


Let me finish this labels galore with a series belonging to the wine called Machete Red. This wine is produced by the legendary Dave Phinney, and each case sports 12 bottles with 12 different labels  – from the same theme. I didn’t have an opportunity to taste this wine, and it retails for quite a bit more than any of the wines I mentioned before ($45.99), so in this particular case I can’t tell you if content of the bottle matches the creativity on outside – but I surely hope it does.

Machete Red

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That’s all I have for you for today. What are your creative label discoveries? Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #MWWC3 Vote, Greenwich Food and Wine Festival, [In]decent Wine Labels, and more

September 25, 2013 6 comments

wine quiz answerMeritage time!

First, let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #74, grape trivia – Trebbiano.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about the white grape called Trebbiano (known in France as Ugni Blanc). Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Ugni Blanc is a main grape in the production of what famous spirit?

A1: Cognac.

Q2: Name the wine, in which Trebbiano was a required part of the blend, and it was considered to be the reason for a bad, flabby quality of that wine (it is no longer required to be used in that wine).

A2: Chianti. For the long time, Trebbiano was a mandatory part of the Chianti wines, rendering them dull and uninteresting.

Q3: Trebbiano is often a foundation for the popular food product (containing no alcohol). Do you know what food product it is?

A3: Balsamic Vinegar! Yes, of course when you look at the literally a black-colored balsamic vinegar, it is hard to imagine that it is made out of the white grape juice – but all the color comes from the ageing in wood. Trebbiano is a popular choice due to its neutral taste characteristics.

Q4: Contrary to the name, Trebbiano di Lugano is not considered to be a part of the Trebbiano family, but rather related to another Italian grape. Do you know what grape is that?

A4: Verdicchio. Based on genetic analysis, it is established that Trebbiano di Lugano is a close relative of Verdicchio grape from Marche region in Italy.

Q5: When used for the wine production (as opposed to the distilled spirits), Ugni Blanc is rarely used on its own – it is typically a part of the blend.  Name 3 grapes, traditional blending partners of Ugni Blanc.

A5: Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Sémillon. While other combinations are possible, I was looking for classic Bordeaux lineup, which are these three grapes.

Now, when to comes to declaring the winners (or not) of this quiz, the becomes somewhat of a challenge. Both Michael (who has no web site) and Eat with Namie answered first 4 questions correctly, and provided a different answer to the question #5, compare to what I was looking for, but I can’t fully disqualify their answer. So we don’t have an absolute winner this week, but both Michael and Namie get an honorable mention. Well done!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!

First and foremost, 3rd Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC3) concluded with 15 entries, taking on a difficult theme “possession”. Now it is your time to chose the host for #MWWC4, a.k.a. The Winner of #MWWC3. Here is the post from Sally, the winner of #MWWC2 and the host of #MWWC3, which summarizes all the entries. Your job is simple: 1. Get glass of wine. 2. Read. 3. Vote. Yes, don’t forget to vote!

Now, if you live in a close proximity of Greenwich , Connecticut, or plan to visit the area, here is the event you don’t want to miss – Greenwich Food and Wine Festival, taking place over 3 days, October 3 – 5. In its third year, the festival brings together more than 90 restaurants and vendors, chefs, musicians, sommeliers. You will find great food, great wines, cooking demos by celebrity chefs such as Duff Goldman, live music, BBQ, beer, competitions (had enough?) and more. For the schedule of events and tickets please click here.

Next – do you think some wine labels are going too far? Too suggestive, too sensual, simply indecent? May be some are. Take a look at Tyler Colman’s, a.k.a. Dr. Vino, blog post on the subject. Make sure to check the link to his article in the Details magazine – you will find some interesting labels there.

And the last one for today – another installment of Wine in China is available for your reading pleasure on the Wine Economist blog. This time you can learn about Chinese government involvement and its role in shaping up the Chinese wine industry.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but refill is on its way. Until the next time – cheers!

Weekly Wine Quiz #34: Hello, My Name Is…

October 27, 2012 21 comments

It is Saturday, and therefore, it is time for your Saturday wine entertainment (no, you don’t get to drink wine yet – first, you have to solve a puzzle, and if you don’t – no wine for you! Okay, I’m only kidding…)

Last wine quiz #33 caused some controversy – but you know what – this one might do the same. Or not.

Anyway, I have to thank Vino in Love for the idea for this wine quiz. In his last wine quiz, he used a made up name for the grape. Below you see a list of names of the wines – except one of them was made up by me. Do you know which name is a made up name?

A. If you see Kay

B. No girls

C. Frequency

D. Predicament

E. To the rescue

Give it a try! You don’t have much to win (outside of pride), but you have even less to lose.

Please provide your answer in the comments section. Have fun and good luck! Cheers!

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