Friday, 28 August 2015

What the Wine Label You Choose Says About You

First impressions count. The words that were left ringing in my ears by my dear mother, as I went for my first ever job interview as a 16 year old. Walking down the road in my ill-fitting off-the-peg suit, I was more worried about getting my name wrong in the interview room, than I was about how dapper I looked. But, boy, was my Mum right. I left that interview with not only a Saturday job at a bakery, but learning a new lesson in life.

Fast forward to my present day job in a wine shop and the saying still stands. Working in a wine shop, you get to see all facets of the wine buying public. You have the 'Just-finished-work-and-need-a-bottle-for-my-lasagne' crowd; the 'I-have-my-internet-date-coming-over-and-need-something-to-impress' people, all the way through to the 'Arrgh! The-Mother-in-law-is-coming-to-tea-and-I-need-something-French' set.

However, they all have something in common - the label that attracts their eye first shoots up the charts in terms of what is most likely to be coming home with them that night.

I'm faced with different labels all day, but it's really interesting to see different people's reactions to bottles, without them having the foggiest of ideas about what the liquid inside it tastes like. The 'story' of a wine is told on the label and people buy into that tale.

Take a look at some bottles of classic wines:

Picture of a crest? Check...
Posh 'ye olde'-sounding name? Check...
Gothic style writing? Bingo...

If you wanted something that screams to everyone "I am refined, I am cultured, sophistication is part of my genetic make up", then you have just found it.

Now look at the opposite end of the spectrum. Have a look at some of these more, how shall we say, quirky labels:

A sharp, modern looking font on the bottle, all flashy logos on the label, retro looking style. What runs through your head? "If people see me drinking this, they will know I am the embodiment of cool".

 Now, I know people who would look hip if they had their lips locked round a bottle of anti-freeze, but the image of the 'sharp looking continental drinker' drives people to want that image and buy accordingly.

Labels can also convey the image of 'expense'. If you are looking for wine on a budget & you are faced with a bottle that has ornate scripture & bold pictures, and a bottle that simply states 'Merlot', you would more than likely going to go for the authentic looking one, to project the image of the 'seasoned wine drinker', which in itself is a sophisticated image. 

Multinational companies spend millions to attract their target demographic to buy their products, by selling their 'dreams and aspirations' on a label and creating a story to romanticize the contents of the bottle before they have chance of opening them.

First impressions or not, I lasted 6 months in my Saturday job. It turned out that making sausage rolls was a technical challenge too far. When it comes to selling baked goods, maybe that saying shouldn't be taken too seriously after all...

What is your take on it? Tell us on Twitter, Facebook or below in the comments!


  1. "If people see me drinking this, they will know I am the embodiment of cool"

    That is most true of the skull one, clearly.

    1. Totally. Also labels like the Some Young Punks range, such as 'Naked on Rollerskates'... :-D