Friday, August 21, 2009
Cute Wine Labels, Pretty Bottles
Have you ever bought a wine because the label or the bottle was just plain irresistible? What about Antinori's white wine that came in a green, fish-shaped bottle complete with scales? We'll admit it if you will too.
Wine buyers aren't immune to clever marketing ploys. Fact is, some wine label designers are pretty savvy cats who work the label or bottle design as prime wine-selling real estate.
A label's design can raise or lower a wine's shelf-appeal, regardless of what's actually in the bottle. At their best, clever or beautiful labels can trump a wine's price barrier and trigger sales. A dull label on a terrific wine might cause shoppers unfamiliar with the wine's quality to bypass it in favor of one with a snazzier label. On the other hand, a label with fetching colors, captivating design or sex appeal can land the sale – after all, you might subconsciously figure, how can you not enjoy a wine whose label promises so much?
Lately, a couple of messages-in-a-bottle worked their subliminal magic on us. We were hooked by one look at the label of Mad Housewife 2007 Chardonnay. What better bottle could we bring to girlfriends' weekend on Balboa? Or, as the winery asks on its Web site, What's Domestic Bliss Without a Little Wine?
In the glass, Mad Housewife was drinkable but hardly complex. Fruity flavors of apples and pears were mixed with a moderate amount of oakiness. With only a $4 price-tag, the goofy front and back labels alone gave us our monies worth in pleasure.
More recently, we couldn't resist a Languedoc wine in a pretty green bottle. Made from the obscure Picpoul grape, the 2008 Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet takes root from fruit grown in clay and limestone soils known for producing light white wines that pair well with the region's marine-based cuisine. Of course, we didn't know any of that when we saw Pretty Green Bottle that hot day. Instead, it had the come-hither look of a thirst-quencher. At around $9 at LA Wine Company and with Patrick's endorsement, we took the chance.
This time, what was inside the bottle mattered. The 100% Picpoul delivered clean flavors of juicy apple and green melon with refreshing acidity and enough complexity to keep our interest. Choose it as an aperitif or enjoy it with light summer fare or shellfish. At 12.5% alcohol, you'll stay cool through the dog days of August.
What pretty bottles or cool labels have you come across this summer? Did the wine deliver or was it just a pretty face? Either way, we hope it was fun.