What’s In A Label

Sheepishly I will admit that, in the past, I have bought wine based on the label, and I don’t mean the back label where they tell you all the important things like the vineyard, the alcohol content and what to expect from the taste. I mean the front label where the product marketing has taken place. It’s the graphic designer in me. I am a sucker for a beautiful or quirky wine label design. I am also a sucker for names that are quirky and fun. I guess that’s the writer in me.

Not all of the selections have been successful but some certainly were. Now to be honest, I don’t buy expensive wine. I can’t afford expensive wine–you know those $1000 bottles that give certain people bragging rights. I peruse the aisles meant for us common folk. The mass produced liquor store selection that provincial sommeliers, employed by these establishments, figure will sell the best in our mostly middle class country. And I am ok with that because if I had an extra $1000 or even $500, I wouldn’t put it towards a bottle of wine. My bottles might top out at $30 but even that is rare. Part of the reason that a bottle would be as expensive as $30 is because a lot of the price is Canadian taxes. One of my favourite Zinfandels, 7 Deadly Zins, which costs about $14 in the US is about $25 here in Nova Scotia. And by the way this is one of those wines that I originally tried based on the name and the label. Gotta love a tongue and cheek name on an antique looking label.

Wine and I don’t always get along. It has something to do with the fact that my taste buds like to go wonky. The little tongue inhabitants sometimes flare up and appear, as well as feel, as if I drank scalding water. Other times I will lose my taste entirely, which I just hate because it spoils my meals, and I like to enjoy meals more than wine. So at times I just buy a wine which works and doesn’t upset my tongue then stick with it for a while. My current long-term friendly grape is Yellowtail Jammy Red Roo. One The Doc picked up for me to try; and I, bitchy as I can sometimes be, gave him grief for going away from my regular type. It turned out that I really, really like it. And so does my tongue.

Anyway, because of this, it has been a little while since I went to the liquor store. I have been having The Doc pick up some Roo when he goes to get his beer. But a couple of weeks ago when he was away I had no Roo and ventured into the store where I got a little carried away and excited about all the labels. Employees began to eye me strangely and offer to help so I asked them if I could take pictures since I was sneaking shots anyway. They said yes!

So here is where I share some of those pics with you:

Freaky wine. I am freaky enough thank you. I don’t need wine to help me get there.

Las Hermanas. This one looks like a 1960’s craft project, but I have to admit that I like the colours and the illustration, especially her expression. From a marketing standpoint, bright green or pure yellow paired with black are intended to denote cheap. Oops I mean economical.

IONOE. My apologies for not finding the proper Greek Alphabet. But what a pretty lable. It reminds me of spring. Or perhaps bubble bath depending on your state of mind.

The 3 Monkeys. Not sure monkeys would encourage me to buy wine. Bananas maybe but not wine.

Thalia. I am loving the colours of this artwork and the deep purple cap. This wine is from Crete where winemaking dates back over 4000 years. That’s a lot of experience. I may have to test this one out in the future.

Fat Bastard. I love the name of this wine and did purchase a bottle several years ago based on their original label which had a little gold rhino crinkling the label from it’s weight. At that time, my tongue didn’t like the wine, which was a little sad because I do like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cats in space gear… I am speechless.

Arrogant Frog. It’s from France. I am betting they wouldn’t sell much of this in Quebec.

Art De Vivre. Also from France. I have to admit that I do love this bottle and art. Plus it looks interesting enough to attract wine-testing attention, except that I prefer red wine.

Bossy Boots Sauvignon Blanc. Sorry, this wine from Australia looks and sounds too much like a bossy wine-drinking elementary teacher. I keep imagining my grade five teacher with an Aussie accent instead of her Newfoundland one.

Some labels just make me feel good even though I will probably never buy the wine. Blueberries and the beach. Two beautiful representations of things that make my day. I have had blueberry wine before and it is quite good so I should never say never when it comes to purchasing this. Especially if I get the opportunity to drink it on the beach.

And finally, Luccarelli. There is nothing more beautiful and refined than an understatement. These Italian labels are, I my opinion, a perfect example of less is more.

I am happy to report that I didn’t purchase any of these wines. I left the store with a couple of bottles of Yellowtail Jammy Red Roo. Exactly what I went in for. And a bottle of McManis Petit Sirah. Not part of the original plan but I like this wine and thought I would let my taste buds tell me if they still do. One day they did and the next day they didn’t. Welcome to my world of wine. Some days, if I can’t enjoy the wine, at least I can enjoy the labels.

Cheers and thank you for reading.

Photo: Jenn Stone except The Beech House and 7 Deadly Zins LCBO because they were taken when I was trying to sneak shots with poor results.

Recent Posts:

23 thoughts on “What’s In A Label

  1. I’m a label addict as well, although my addiction goes right past picture taking and into purchase. I’ve tried Fat Bastard for that very reason. Love the 7 Deadly Zins, I’m definitely looking for that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some of those names catch my attention Fat Bastard..I bought one but it was OK Cats in space are a funny label.I always love Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Sauvignon. I try to hold back during the week and cheers to me on the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are so many nice wines out there , which I like to enjoy when my taste buds are cooperative. Not all of them have interesting labels and names but I do like when I come across a good wine with an interesting label or name. Makes it twice as enjoyable.


  3. I’m not much of a wine drinker, but I find this post interesting. I can’t help but wonder how they market some of these wines with their names. “Fat Bastard—Perfect for the fat bastard in your life.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Even a non-wine drinker like me guessed that. I want to run one of those tests to see if people could identify the most expensive wine simply by taste. My guess is that some of the wine snobs I’ve met probably wouldn’t do that well.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I agree that they really wouldn’t be able to tell. They did the same with chocolate snobs – a blind taste test. The choccy snobs were very, very upset to hear that they’d picked the Cadbury’s above the posher stuff!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. The labels are cool beans. I wish I was younger and a graphic artist who [presumably] gets paid to make them. Of the ones you show here I’ve only seen Yellowtail Jammy Red Roo, which is what you bought. 🍷

    Liked by 1 person

  5. seems like you were there quite a while taking photos – nice that the employees didn’t mind it. I enjoy doing the same thing when looking at beer (not the picture taking) – there are so many clever names and images. It’s all about marketing… but hopefully you’ve got a good product to back it up…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brilliant post and really cheered me up thank you! We don’t have anything like those interesting wine labels anywhere here – they’re all pretty much just a name and no picture of any kind! Extremely bland. The names aren’t exciting either.

    The roo sounds wonderful and I love kangaroos so love the name and the picture.

    Agree with Jim above that beer does have interesting names and labels. I don’t blame you for taking photos in that shop anyway.

    My tongue’s tastebuds sometimes also have that flare-up you describe (although I never lose my sense of taste fortunately). My tongue flares up with pineapple (as does my Mother’s) – someone said it means we’re allergic to it. I can eat tinned pineapple but not fresh – which is a shame because I love it raw!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I had fun doing this post. Glad you enjoyed it. There are a lot of pretty boring labels out there but they wouldn’t be as engaging to blog about.
      As far as the tongue goes. It can happen when I am stressed but also when I have things high in acid. Definitely fresh pineapple but I still buy and eat it… sometimes. I probably antagonize my tongue much more than I should.


  7. Such a fun post! Like you, I adore looking at wine labels. I am easily distracted by them when I’m in the liquor store. I love the Freaky Wine labels! They are my favourites of those you’ve shown. The illustrations are freakishly unique. Also, I like the use of red for the word, Freaky. The labels pop!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.