Friday, March 19, 2010

What's in a Label?

Just a bit of food for thought (or, rather, drink) as we head into the weekend. Earlier this week, Wine Enthusiast Magazine posted a column on its web site by Joe Czerwinski about the importance of a wine's label. The title of the piece ("How Much Does the Label Matter?") deals with an ever-more relevant question that consumers are faced with.

As all of us become more marketing savvy, and as we all have learned to tune our proverbial antennae to the smallest details of branding, product placement, and brand identity, wine producers and marketers have stepped up their efforts to make their products as appealing as possible. There is nothing wrong with this.

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Czerwinski, however, when he notes that, "What’s in the glass is what counts, and that’s something wine writers have espoused for decades, if not centuries. If a wine tastes good to you, it shouldn’t matter...what the label looks like." But that's a difficult trick to pull off, especially as a consumer faced with shelves of often unfamiliar bottlings.

Just something to think about the next time you start to shy away from a bottle of, say, Riesling Spatlese Wehlener Sonnenuhr, or Pernand-Vergelesses 'Les Vergelesses' simply because the names and labels are a bit complicated.

Branch out, take a chance, and don't be afraid to ask questions when you're buying wine. You'll exponentially increase your chances of finding your next favorite bottle if you're willing to break out of your comfort zone and try something whose name may be a bit intimidating or whose label may not be as 'charming' as you'd like.

In the end, it's the juice that counts above all else.


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