Wine Labels As Marketing

Posted by Vicki on January 13, 2017

Face it; you know that sometimes you only have a few minutes to select a wine off a shelf.  So what do you use to make your decision?  You know what you do – you select based on the label that appeals to you. And you’re in good company, because about 40% of wine buyers decide based solely on the label.  And winemakers know this…

Wine packaging has to communicate a lot of information quickly to busy consumers. This is most important for the casual wine purchaser, which frankly is most people.  So for the winemaker, the label has to grab the consumer’s attention in a few quick minutes.  Here’s how they do it.

Winemakers use the research on how our brains work to determine the characteristics on their labels that will attract us to their bottles. At the bottom of it all is that we are human beings and certain primal instincts control our decisions.  Because we are visual beings, the look of a wine label has a big impact on our decision-making.  There are ways to lower our dependence on labels, like learning a few things from here and here.  However, below are the details for how they affect us.

Color –

Turns out color is important to us in making a value judgment on all different types of objects. So color on a label impacts how we evaluate the quality of the wine. This makes color a powerful tool in marketing and of course in branding.

Studies have found that dark, rich label colors are perceived to indicate higher quality wine, while brighter, more colorful labels are perceived to indicate “less serious, more frivolous” wine. Turns out yellow and green are popular colors in labels, and in studies are associated with perceptions of being exciting and imaginative. Black and brown are also popular colors and have more “formal” associations.

And don’t forget about the typeface on the labels. Old World wines tend to use traditional, busier typeface designs that evoke the long history of their regions, like the Lafite label above and the Latter label at the top. New World wines tend to evoke the modern technology and contemporary styles of these wines. The colors are often brighter with more unusual shapes, like the labels below. So labels intended to make the wine look more expensive and traditional will use the more minimal design. And it works – research shows that even casual wine drinkers can accurately predict wine prices by the styles of the labels alone. That’s pretty amazing.

Label Shape –

Apparently we love certain label shapes and dislike others. The most popular are not surprising and you see them a lot – rectangle, round rectangle and hexagon. So combining the four colors listed above (green, yellow, brown, black) with these three label shapes make for labels that predictably attract more of the wine consumers who mainly use the label for their purchase.

Animals –

The Australians have used animals to their great benefit. Think Yellow Tail with its cute kangaroo. And there are also dogs, lizards, monkeys – the list goes on. I really don’t get this, but the facts are out there – these make for attractive labels to more casual wine buyers. The research also shows that wine drinkers associate these labels with cheaper wines, but if that’s the segment of the market the winemaker is going for, then mission accomplished.

Names –

It might not surprise you that many wine label names are created to attract women versus men. Who do you think these wines are for – Mommy’s Time Out, Ménage à Trois, Cupcake, Middle Sister, Bitch? According to research, and this won’t surprise you at all, women rated wine labels as more attractive than the men did when the logos were eye catching, colorful and creative, rather than classic or even displaying animals.

Back Labels –

Consumers expect back labels to have more technical information. And I have to say I can’t stand a back label that tells me how the family owning the winery is so warm and wonderful, without telling me how they made the wine. The warm and fuzzy back labels make me pretty suspicious frankly. And for casual consumers the back label is not so important.

How To Beat The Marketing –

First of all, come to my classes and learn more about what’s in the bottle, behind that label. Secondly, read this blog, for example this article. But seriously, if you can find someone you trust at your favorite wine shop, you can pick their brains on the wines for your every need. Ask them to recommend a wine similar to your go-to regular, so you can expand your repertoire. And if it’s a special dinner you’re planning, ask them which wine in your price range will pair with the meal.

And if all else fails, do a quick Google search for food and wine pairings (if you don’t go here or here).

Related Post