Wine Myths…Busted: Never Choose Wine Based on the Label.

Posted on by Kris

How-to-Select-a-Fine-Wine-Based-On-The-LabelThis “wine myth” comes up every now and then, and is generally written in lifestyle magazines by writers who have absolutely no clue about the topic they are covering, instead relying on regurgitating the rhetoric they’ve no-doubt read in some other lifestyle magazine.

Of course, the beautiful packaging and design of a wine label doesn’t really tell you anything about the juice in the bottle….or does it?

People are becoming increasingly visual in their habits, this perfectly demonstrated by the success of image-based “social pinboard” Pinterest and the influence it appears to be having on e-commerce.
To me, a great wine label says that the winery shows real attention-to-detail with the product they’re producing and is forward-thinking, innovative and image conscious towards what the consumer thinks of their brand. If that’s the attention they’re putting into their wine labels, hopefully the same attention will be paid to the juice in the bottle.

Does this theory always pan out? Of course not, but neither does buying wine from a particular region, sub-appellation, producer or the same importer (unless you’ve purchased it before). To this end, I have no doubt that a great number of wineries (Mollydooker, Orin Swift, Charles Smith etc.) owe a large amount of their continued success to their innovative packaging.


As you can probably tell, I place a large amount of value on a wine’s packaging, and the custom “hand-printed” bottle in the image the the left (Meeker Merlot) is a perfect example of why I hold it in such high regard.

Once-upon-a-time, when I was running a wine bar, I actually ran a Server promotion based on who could sell the most volume of this particular wine (bearing in mind it was going for $70+ a bottle in the restaurant and was still during the time when Merlot consumption was at an all-time low). The wine is phenomenal, to this day my favorite Californian Merlot; but I have no doubt in my mind that if the wine had been in a fairly bland package, we wouldn’t have sold a quarter of what we did. As it was, we apparently sold more than any other account in the South-Eastern United States (during the promo period), potentially even the U.S.

In this case, the label no-doubt assisted in selling the wine, added to the “euphoric buying experience” by having this bottle sat on the guest’s table (and other guests inevitably glancing over)and even potentially their mindset on the taste of the wine itself, even before it’s graced their lips.

Click here for the rest of my Wine Myths Busted series.

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