Wine Labels: Do Looks Really Matter?

While it’s what’s on the inside that really counts, wine labels do have some pull when it comes to what we purchase.

Wandering the aisles of your local Liquorland considering trying a new drop? With hundreds of wines competing for your attention because trying-before-buying is not always possible, it’s no wonder the label is so important.

Professor of Wine and Viticulture, Marianne McGarry Wolf, had a look at what lures us in when it comes to wine labels.

What sells?

In an effort to attract the youngest wine drinkers – the millennials – wineries have upped the colourful, wacky and creative design elements on their labels.

Interestingly, in a cross-generational survey of the importance of attractiveness, millennials and baby boomers both rated a wine label’s appearance more important to them than generation X'ers did.

For the most part, wine drinkers of all ages agreed which labels were most attractive. So it’s not only the millennials who are attracted to colourful and creative labels.

Although generations may agree on what label features reel them in, there are some differences between male and female preferences. 

Women preferred more creative, eye-catching, colourful and ornate wine labels than men. Similarly, women rated plain, less colourful logos lower in attractiveness than men did. Wineries have used this kind of data to create wines targeted specifically to female drinkers.

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Got your back

How important is the information on the back label of wine bottles? Almost half of the wine drinkers surveyed – 49 percent – said the words on the back label are at least somewhat important to their purchase decision. And 55 percent said they read a wine bottle’s back label at least somewhat often.

But what’s the most desirable kind of info, such as:

  • descriptions of flavours and aromas
  • interesting information about the winery
  • explanations of food pairings
  • history of the winery
  • a story about the wine
  • growing region features
  • climate of the vineyard
  • winery website
  • a story about the winemaker
  • the winery location
  • humorous information
  • wine-making practices
  • vineyard’s soil

A description of flavours and aromas of the wine on the back label is the most important information. People simply want to know what to expect from the wine. That’s more valuable than information about the winery, food pairings, history of the winery or history of the wine.

Wine has evolved over the past decade from a drink that exclusively was paired with food, to one that is now a beverage for all occasions – dining, socialising, relaxing and celebrating. When wine was simply an accompaniment for food, labels could be dull and descriptive. But now enhanced logos, images and brand stories are big.


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