July 23, 2021

The Wild World of Wine Labels

By @thewineinformer

This week on #TheWineHacker we are talking about wine packaging! We sent through some questions to our Wine Hacker Sara, aka The Wine Informer, to see what her thoughts were on the matter.

What do you think attracts people to a bottle of wine?

Clarity, transparency and aesthetic beauty (in terms of graphics).

Consumers are becoming more educated and fussy as the range of choices become wider, and it is more difficult to decide or choose “the right bottle”. The consumer must have easy access to product information directly from the label, especially in Australia, where there are no big rules around it.

For example, I don’t appreciate it when producers deliberately omit the label on the back of the wine bottle (many new producers are following this trend). Personally, I always read the back label when I have to decide on a wine. It can contain essential information on the brand’s history, tasting notes and provides a “blank canvas” for the producer to get creativity.

What do you look for on a label when you walk into a wine shop?

Clarity! Of course, aesthetics are important and pleasing to the eye. We all have our tastes, but a brand must have its message well presented both graphically and in content. Especially if they want to be distinctive amongst all the options you have on the retail shelves. Many go for what is familiar and known… but what if I want to try something new? Relevant information must be clearly displayed.

As I said, I always refer to the back label for more insights: it usually contains interesting elements to know the details that led to the production of that bottle.

But of course, everything must be shown in a harmonious and orderly way.

When it comes to reading the back of a bottle, what information is most important to you? 

History, winemaking, tasting notes and what I love is when the producer uses this space creatively.

For me, the “must-have” items on a label are:

  • The brand
  • Appellation, location
  • Vintage
  • Variety of the wine or blend
  • The real winery that produced the wine and grapes

Why do you think more wineries are starting to use digital wine labels that connect them to smartphones?

I notice that QR codes have found their way into the world of wine. A quick scan can offer information and functionality that the producer couldn’t include on the label… and it captures the customer’s curiosity even more.

Also, some well-known names put digital tracking codes to avoid counterfeiting, especially for internationally renowned producers—extra safety for the consumer.

More and more wine apps offer information, evaluations and concrete data. They do a great job for their target audience.

What should wineries be making sure they do when designing their wine label?

Develop a defined brand strategy and brand guidelines with a clear message and an outlined target audience. Who are you? What do you want to communicate? What and which audience are you trying to reach?

Once you have the ideas and your vision and mission all in place, then you can move on to design choices like colours, typography, style and images. Remember to define your palette!

Tell your story. Add the label on the front of the bottle, be sure to include all relevant information: history of the vineyards and tasting notes and any necessary requirements. Create your brand identity and stick to it so the consumer can remember you!

As for awards… My personal opinion? I wouldn’t say I particularly like it when wine bottles show medals and awards. I find everything visually very ugly and useless. The consumer who buys your bottle is the only judge that matters. Always remember that.

Sara, The Wine Informer

You can find more from Sara through her website, The Wine Informer, and her Instagram, @thewineinformer.

Humans have been creating wine for thousands of years, so shouldn’t it be easier to understand? Well, that’s where The Wine Informer comes in. Sara, The Wine Informer explains wine and all its various forms in simple step-by-step terms to help you taste and discover the details. Throughout her blog and Instagram, Sara combines her passions of wine, storytelling, education, branding and marketing to bring you content that is both captivating and carefree to help you along your wine journey.

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