Butter and Bacon
We are in an interesting time for wine. I was working a wine dinner this week and got to chatting with some fantastic women who were attending. One of our many topics was on how they pick wine -- the answer, simple -- labels. What is interesting to me is that this is becoming a trend the way kale has. Labels were never meant to be used as an art gallery -- and kale was never meant to be used as more than plate decor.
Initially, labels were designed to give you strictly information on what was in the bottle; region, varietal, vintage, winemaker, alcohol percentage etc. NOW, wine makers like Herman Story (who I honestly think was at the forefront of this) give you no information on the front of the bottle -- leaving you, to choose strictly based off eye appeal. Sure, if you turn the bottle and check out the back side you will find alcohol, vintage, region, etc, but the only way you will even notice is if the label is good enough to get you there. Quite frankly, I am way too lazy at the end of the day to want to pick up a bottle and turn it around JUST to see what is going on inside -- for me, I pass and go with something easy to find/read.
This brings me to my personal issue. It seems that wine has become more of a gimmicky trend. Instead of competing to make good wine -- it's more of a who can come up with a great label and get it on the shelf first, kind of industry. Which, for the consumer, sucks because they will never know good wine if they are not intervened upon. There is no guidance and I don't know if anyone even wants to be helped? Do you?
In fact, I am guilty myself of falling right into this 'label' trend as I am about to release a rose this Spring. I wanted to come up with a label that would be eye catching amongst the sea of pink -- I wanted it to grab your attention and keep you there long enough to make your shopping cart. I did not even think for one second to list anything about what the rose actually IS and instead chose to just focused on the fact that the label needed to be glamorous. Which, on a side note, when it is released it will be delicious and it supports an amazing cause.
This brings me to my next point. Women. Now that labels are more about eye/art appeal -- they are also geared towards women. Women are the ones buying the wine to take home to their families and to keep their sanity. There is a reason labels simply say BUTTER on the front -- because we all want to drink a bottle of butter. I mean I don't, but apparently based on sales all of America is clamoring to do it. Would you like some bread with that butter? Oh wait there already is -- It is only a matter of time before BACON comes out and LASAGNA and CREME BRULEE -- ugh.
Essentially what I am trying to get at is, please for the love of wine READ THE LABELS. No one wants to be taken advantage of and that is exactly what is happening in the world of wine. As wine sales continue to increase -- crap wine continues to get pumped out and re'branded' as a new art piece meant to grab your attention. If you think 'Two Buck Chuck' is just one brand of wine you are wrong. Two Buck Chuck has many labels by many different names who all come out of a giant vat of wine --Two Buck Chuck is bought by lots and lots of different wine 'makers' and has many many names and many different prices -- Trader Joes just buys enough of it to give you a lovely price.
If you are curious on HOW to read a wine label, check out one of my previous posts all about how to read them and what to look for to get the best bang for your buck!