The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2016

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4  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2016 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR IN CHIEF You bought the best clonal material avail- able. You planted it on a perfect site. You tended the vines meticulously until they were ready. You harvested by hand and at night. You did a painstaking sorting of the berries. You crushed them in state-of-the-art equip- ment. You aged the wine in expensive French barrels. And, when it was ready, you bottled it in heavy, costly glass and topped it off with pricy corks. Then you asked your brother-in-law, who took an art course in his college sophomore year, to design the label. Does that make sense? After all the time and effort, not to mention money, you are handing off one of the most impor- tant marketing tools to an amateur. No, it doesn't make sense. When a consumer enters a wine retail establishment, he or she (statistically more often the latter) is bombarded by hundreds of images competing for his or her dollars. Unless the person knows exactly what he or she wants, the array of labels displayed can be daunting if not overwhelming. Of course, the ones that stand out are the ones most likely to find their way into the shopping cart. So what is it that makes a label stand out? It depends on the message you are trying to send. Put a critter on your label and you're saying: "My wine is inexpensive and geared to appeal to Millennials." If you are into gaudy you can festoon your label with gold and bright colors; if you are going with such a label, look at it from across the room—it just looks like a mishmash, doesn't it? I taste over 5,000 wines every year and I see lots of labels. Some are clean and original; others are as ugly as a Lexus grill. The ones that resonate with me are the simple ones— mostly white, with a tasteful typeface in the center saying the name of the winery. That's it. This is, after all, about communication. Don't crap up your message; just state it in a simple, straightforward way. And, for heaven's sake, get professional help. After all you've been through, the extra bucks you will have to spend are totally worth it. —Anthony Dias Blue Put a Label on It

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