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 Wine label design, more important than the wine?

Sales of wine globally are estimated to be more than €285 billion annually and growing with more wines continually coming on stream.  Wineries everywhere are having to work harder than ever as wine label design is  more important than ever to catch the attention of consumers.

In general wine companies don’t spend much on advertising so label design is an essential tool.  The wine label has to tell a story and communicate the wine’s personality. Easy to say but difficult to achieve especially in a market place that is evolving along with consumer trends.

When I do consumer tastings I start by talking about the design as it should contain the story and prepare the consumer for what they are going to taste.  Most consumers struggle to articulate what they are tasting but are much more comfortable sharing their views on a label.

Therefore, it makes sense that wineries should spend more time and resources not just on designing a pretty picture but thinking about the message they want to transmit and to which group of wine consumers.

It can be difficult for wineries, mostly farmers, to accept that something they live for and work hard to produce all year can come down to a personal preference of a label design but that is the reality because as I said it is part of the experience of buying and consuming.

A study in the US by Nielsen showed that in 2015 millennial consumed 42% of wine sold, more than any other age group.  Also, millennials are four times more likely to buy wine because they like the label than Baby Boomers, whose tendency is to buy a wine based on a region.

Over the next few years how and where we buy wine may change. There is rise globally of wine sold Bag in Box and cans, which will appeal to a particular category of consumers.

Likewise, buying wine online makes the impact of a distinctive image and good story very important, as well as consumers sharing recommendations through apps and online. This will effect the wines online presence as it will improve its position in Google and other search engines.

Wineries with their designers are experimenting more to create labels for wines that could have same name but with different labels not only for different markets but labels targeting specific sectors in those markets.

One thing is for sure the next decade is going to be fascinating to see the changes in the wine industry making it easier to attract new consumers to the sector while at the same time broadening the appeal of wine.

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I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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