The magic is in the juice

When I started working in the in the summer of 2007 I knew a few things . First it was exponentially better to drink than the Natural Light my contemporaries were imbibing at the time. It provides a great way to meet women and convince them you’re more sophisticated than you actually are. And finally there was something I desired to learn about culturally, historically and socially; anyone can order a martini and look good doing so but in the of wine you are constantly finding out new and interesting things. Yet for all the knowledge I thought I had gathered nothing was more humbling than going to work in a wine store, where the people above you spent most of their lives buying, selling and learning about wine. From my time with them I’ve learned a lot about spotting good wines.

First of all, labels mean absolutely nothing, so when you go to buy wine don’t even look at the front ignore it, there is more useful information on the back like a good importer. In this era of opulence and visually stimulated purchasing, Louis Vutton and Cadillac, take a more refined and dare I say classier approach. I am reminded of the Tommy Boy with the late great Chris Farley. Tommy is selling Callahan Break Pads; one of his retailers says there isn’t a guarantee on Callahan’s box. Tommy says you can put a guarantee on shit and its still shit, same thing with wine – creative picture means the spent all the money on a and not the . Like a guarantee vs. the actual product. There can and often will be a cute picture on the bottle but the , more times than not, is still absolute Swill (a colloquialism used to describe wine not worth ).

Best quality indicator – a good importer. While there still are names in wine worth buying anytime you see them there are also many out there that have sold the names to bigger corporations to take advantage of consumer’s name recognition. Cakebread is a great example of a wine that once was a great wine for a good buy and now its just expensive and not much to talk about, one can find better for half the price. Importers on the other hand like Robert Shadderdon, Kermit Lynch, John David Hendrick and Neil Rosenthal, use discretion when picking wines to promote and have built up a strong reputation based on their names.

In closing, to all those wine creators, make sure your brand is innovative, but when it comes down to it, build a rep for finding kick ass juice… easy enough

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Posted in Industry, Thoughts, Wine | 10 Comments »

  • http://israeliwinedirect.com Richard Shaffer

    Hey – I agree the label does not make the wine but the reality is that we are Visual creatures so the label has got to be good and there are some butt-ugly (technical designer term) labels out there – maybe even on some good juice. Winemakers ignore label art at their own risk!

    Richard

  • http://israeliwinedirect.com Richard Shaffer

    Hey – I agree the label does not make the wine but the reality is that we are Visual creatures so the label has got to be good and there are some butt-ugly (technical designer term) labels out there – maybe even on some good juice. Winemakers ignore label art at their own risk!

    Richard

  • http://grapethinking.com/author/tayloe Tayloe Cook

    You are correct sir, and I do not discount that labels make things interesting-for instance Chris Ringland’s Boarding Pass or Strong Arm Shiraz. But after having gotten into subtler whites from Burgundy’s esp. those from the Macon and Chablis (whose producers refrain from tacky pictures) and moving away from the oak loving producers of butter drenched California Chards, I wonder if Americans have taken the wrong approach in general to selecting or even marketing wine? The value of a wine is in the name, its producer, importer or even store where you purchase it. Would it not be easier if your friend suggested a wine to you by name versus “the one (wine) with the Centaur on the label” or some other ridiculous mythical creature? Just because we can create visual masterpieces is the wine bottle really the place to appreciate a work of art? Just because we are new world producers do we have to culturally discount ourselves by putting pictures on wine? This might be more of a philosophy call and something that doesn’t come to the forefront of wine marketing, but its just an interesting take on the wine experience as a whole. Cheers to all wine lovers and always remember to try something new…The Grape Ape

  • http://grapethinking.com/author/tayloe Tayloe Cook

    You are correct sir, and I do not discount that labels make things interesting-for instance Chris Ringland’s Boarding Pass or Strong Arm Shiraz. But after having gotten into subtler whites from Burgundy’s esp. those from the Macon and Chablis (whose producers refrain from tacky pictures) and moving away from the oak loving producers of butter drenched California Chards, I wonder if Americans have taken the wrong approach in general to selecting or even marketing wine? The value of a wine is in the name, its producer, importer or even store where you purchase it. Would it not be easier if your friend suggested a wine to you by name versus “the one (wine) with the Centaur on the label” or some other ridiculous mythical creature? Just because we can create visual masterpieces is the wine bottle really the place to appreciate a work of art? Just because we are new world producers do we have to culturally discount ourselves by putting pictures on wine? This might be more of a philosophy call and something that doesn’t come to the forefront of wine marketing, but its just an interesting take on the wine experience as a whole. Cheers to all wine lovers and always remember to try something new…The Grape Ape

  • http://grapethinking.com/author/greg mu

    Great post, I think that anyone with great juice should support it with a great label. I agree, tacky labels are terrible, especially the whole critter fad, but an artistic fresh label can add to the appeal of the wine. Some people, college esp., like to put wine bottles up in their apartment as pieces of art and leave it up long after the juice is gone. It’s important to keep the labels sophisticated, millennials take offense at dumbing down wine. Keep it comin, love to hear more stories and ideas from working in a wine shop

  • http://grapethinking.com/author/greg mu

    Great post, I think that anyone with great juice should support it with a great label. I agree, tacky labels are terrible, especially the whole critter fad, but an artistic fresh label can add to the appeal of the wine. Some people, college esp., like to put wine bottles up in their apartment as pieces of art and leave it up long after the juice is gone. It’s important to keep the labels sophisticated, millennials take offense at dumbing down wine. Keep it comin, love to hear more stories and ideas from working in a wine shop

  • http://grapethinking.com/author/meghan Meghan

    For me when I don’t know what wine I feel like having I will refer to the creativity of the label. Of course that won’t be the only reasoning for the purchase, but I like to believe that the creativity of the label reflects the character of the winemaker.
    And in terms of Natural Light, it is only acceptable and it just barely makes the “only”, when there are cups being flipped or having ping pong balls thrown into them.

  • http://grapethinking.com/author/meghan Meghan

    For me when I don’t know what wine I feel like having I will refer to the creativity of the label. Of course that won’t be the only reasoning for the purchase, but I like to believe that the creativity of the label reflects the character of the winemaker.
    And in terms of Natural Light, it is only acceptable and it just barely makes the “only”, when there are cups being flipped or having ping pong balls thrown into them.

  • Greg, Sr

    Dead on the money Tayloe. BTW, I am/was a huge Chris Farley fan.

  • Greg, Sr

    Dead on the money Tayloe. BTW, I am/was a huge Chris Farley fan.

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