- Posted by Danielle Gillespie
I’m going to go out on a limb, at the risk of really ticking off a lot of industry professionals who have dedicated countless hours to the noble pursuit of unraveling the mysteries of wines. My answer is “yes”, yes you can judge a wine by its label. BUT, my answer is strongly qualified!
I will start by letting my readers know that I have dedicated the past, who knows how many and frankly who wants to count, years on a great wine quest. I love wine. Period. I love trying new wine, I love talking to people about wine and I love the wine and dine experience. I especially love talking to people after I have been drinking wine (this last love is always met with mixed reactions).
I have a great respect and love for dedicated wine professionals because they have guided me down wine paths that I would never have traveled otherwise. These accomplished guides have provided me with mountains of good information that lead me further down other paths. My journey has been more enjoyable having traveled it, if only for a few moments, with the various wine professionals I have encountered along the way. I will never forget my first Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Amarone or Willamette Pinot Noir…and I owe these “firsts” to wine professionals.
How many people choose their wine by its label?
However, it seems that wine labels are becoming more interesting and more creative lately, which started me wondering: how many people choose their wine by its label? Turns out: a LOT. Not everyone willingly admits it but, it happens more often than you would imagine.
As wine labels evolve, I think it is becoming possible to factor the label into the decision-making process. I think the label might tell us something about the wine maker or the vineyard: are they creative, subtle, boring, contrived? Can we further assume that the wine is crafted with the same care as the label? I will give that a cautious maybe. There will always be certain wine companies that will slap a snazzy label on a crap wine for instant sales. This is when having a sliver of the wine knowledge, imparted by your faithful wine stewards to you, will help. For example, if you have been paying attention in your own wine journey, you will know that you are pretty safe with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a Russian River Chardonnay or, a Willamette Pinot Noir. Perhaps while selecting your liquid jewel, your wine professional has narrowed down the options for you or maybe you are using a tablet wine menu that provides wine maker tasting notes, professional accolades and pairings. In these cases, and armed with information, you can indulge yourself with the wine label.
The bottom line
The wine label can be used as the last deciding factor between wines of equal ranking. When picking wine it is always fun to use an interactive, tablet-based wine list because you not only have access to great label art but you also have the information needed to make an informed decision.
The next time you buy wine, do an experiment and see if your wine knowledge coupled with your label factor leads you to a good choice. And no matter how you decide on your next bottle, stay curious and drink yummy wine!