Posted by: admin in: wine labels
Wine bottle labels contain a lot of important information but while some wineries place a great deal of store and branding credibility on their wine label designs, many others simply don’t bother at all and let the wine do all the talking. No matter where a winery stands on the use of wine bottle labels for marketing purposes, what information must be included is governed by a host of different laws and regulations which vary depending on the type of wine and most particularly, where the wine has been produced.
First of all, wine bottle labels do not have any impact on the quality of the wine in the bottle; in this respect, those producers who let the wine stand or fall on its own merits have the moral high ground but enjoying wine is simply about drinking it – it is the ambiance, the social setting and the sharing with friends and family. In this light, an elegant bottle with a well-designed win bottle label simply adds to the sense of occasion which is being created around the simple act of sharing a glass of wine or two.
A counter view is that many younger drinkers tend to be put off by use of terms such as “Chateaux” or “Pouilly-Fusee”; regarding these terms as out-of-date and anachronistic – in other words, such old school wine terms do not go down well with younger, hipster generations. Branding and proprietal wine bottle labels do become important in this regard, if a winery is looking to be successful in selling its produce. The success of New World wines amongst US and younger drinkers has a lot to do with the playful simplicity of wine bottle labeling adopted by the wineries.
Now we’ve established that the look of the wine bottle and label have nothing to do with the drinking quality of the wine, let’s take a look at what is important when you read a wine label.
Country distinctions are apparent as different countries have different classification systems and regulations governing what a wine can claim to be.
France has long held onto the international reputation as the gold standard for wine production and classification with a system of “Appellation Controllee”; literally, controlling the name of the wine. This system of wine classification is often confusing and intimidating to buyers who are unlikely to know that in Bordeaux there are 151 chateaux appellations while Burgundy has 110 – many buyers would not know where either region or area is on a map of France never mind what the differences are which establish the criteria for each appellation. Spanish and Portuguese wineries guarantee authenticity by using a seal on the wine bottle label or by use of a band over the cork and which is overseen by the local wine growers association. German wine labels are renowned for the detail they must carry including quality and style – a rough guide is that the longer the name of a German wine, the better quality it is.
New World wines are much more simplistic and contain clearer information for consumers notably, what the wine is, where it originates from and the grape variety. Many winemakers in the US and Australia have moved away from using generic names for their wines because of the threat of litigation from the Old World areas where the name originates from, Champagne being a very good example.