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Wine labels… part 1

Do they influence you?

If you are looking for a new varietal or bottle of wine to drink when you’re just starting to explore the world of wine it can be a little exasperating. The process usually involves starting with what you know, followed by a comparison of prices and discounts, and then label staring until you find something… and then you’re still not sure if it will be good!

Wine labels play an important role in our decision making process, even if we don’t realize why. Let’s take a look at how wine labels influence our choices and affiliation with brands, along with some tips on how to look past the design on the bottle for relevant and important information.

Columbia Crest’s “Grand Estates” rebrand before and after. Which one looks more appealing?

Wine labels are foremost in developing a brand

Case Study: Columbia Crest

Wine brands and luxury wines take labels very seriously. For example, the Columbia Crest Grand Estates brand by Ste Michelle Estates went from a “traditional” look to “modern classic” design and saw growth go from 2% to 7.5% annually with the new label design. This might not seem like much, but when you’re talking about a wine with an annual production of 3.6 million bottles (300,000 cases), the percentages are amazing!

Two wines with label colours that have become synonymous with an entire style of wine: Lamarca Prosecco = light blue and Veuve Clicquot (“voove kleek-oh”) Champagne = orange.

Labels can becomes identifiers with a style of wine

Just like asking for a Hoover instead of vacuum cleaner, some wine labels have become synonymous with entire wine regions or styles of wine. The styles most affected by this are sparkling wines. Two brands (Lamarca and Veuve Clicquot) have developed predominant recognition in terms of their brand being so familiar. The indirect messaging of the label colouring and design influences buying decisions based on what people expect a bottle of that style of wine to look like. In the case of Champagne, you might prefer a yellow or orange label without even realizing it, or for Prosecco, you might want a blue label.

What this means for wine buyers…..

For most of us, labels are in our subconscious: we don’t even realise the effect that they have on our buying decisions. Of course, even if you are aware of what’s going on, it’s hard to move past the ‘choosing a wine by its label’ option.

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