Tasting Notes on Wine Labels
By Courtney Holmes
I thought it was just me. I am very humble in my knowledge of wine. I work with people who have been cultivating their palate for a lifetime. So just like Socrates, I know that I do not know. I also have taken the great advice of Mark McKenna from Andis Wines, to not worry about being a wine connoisseur and just enjoy the experience. No jugdgement!
But I do want to learn how to identify flavors and aromas, it makes my experience more enjoyable. So it is often very frustrating when the back of the wine label doesn't identify the flavor profile. Sometimes I go to lengths and check the winery's website for flavor profiles if they are not on the bottle. And still - no tasting notes! And I thought it was just me. But I was speaking to Kayla Koroush over at Heringer Estates the other day. They just finished a new design for the wine labels and opted for including tasting notes on each label. She too was frustrated by the complete lack of awareness of the needs of the consumer to quickly learn about the wine via the wine label.
Wine Label Tasting Notes
I love the user centered approach. I understand that traditional marketers want to promote the "story" of the winery. Believe me, that is very very important. But I think that information on the vintage is more important to the consumer's decision making process and enjoyment of the wine, than to learn about the history of the winery. But brand persona can be conveyed in many different mediums and methods. If you don't include the story on the back of the label, that doesn't mean that they won't get the message in other ways.
Wine Brand Story
I wll forever be talking about Scribe Winery. They are doing an excellent job of telling their story. The story has been communicated to us in the following ways:
1. The dialogue with the server at the tasting room.
2. On their website (which is beautifully designed but, sadly, completely dysfunctional for the user)
3. In the name of their Wine Club - The Scribe Viticultural Society
4. Their secondary logo, fonts and brand imagery
5. Tasting room brochure
6. Letter that came with our first wine club shipment
This perspective that I have about tasting notes on wine labels comes from my work in website design . . . and really my work in other mediums as well. I use to write for newspapers, magazines and also news radio (NPR) so I know that the message needs to change depending on the medium. Website design service demands that we study how people "use" websites. Really any marketer needs to put themselves in the perspective of the buyer. So the question is, if only 25% of wine labels include tasting notes, do just 25% of consumers use labels to learn about flavor profiles? Are Kayla and I unique? Or are wineries misunderstanding the consumer when they neglect to include tasting notes on the back of the wine label?
Please comment your thoughts below. I love reading the comments as much as writing!