• Wendy, the Wine Writer

How To Improve Your Brand Recognition ~ Getting Your Wine Noticed

All Wines Are The Same, Right? Absolutely Not!

You make wine. You know wine. Wine is your passion.

You study the terroir of your vineyards to choose the most appropriate varietal to plant in each location.

You follow weather forecasts to decide the best times to cut and drop after bud break... when to harvest for the ultimate quality and production... and when to prune following harvest.

You sample and maybe blend the perfect juices to produce the best vintages year after year.

But do you know how to showcase your wine in the marketplace to make consumers clamor for your masterpiece instead of the hundreds of other bottles of wine sharing shelf space? Using the tips below, your wine will outshine the competition and your sales will explode.

Know Your Target Market

You must first define your ultimate target market before you can consider any marketing strategies. At a minimum, answer the following questions:

  • What is your target price point?

  • What is the age range of your perfect consumer?

  • Who will buy your wine more often, men or women?

  • Are you producing wine which will appeal to a mass market or a niche market?

  • Will your wine be coveted by wine collectors, aficionados, or newbies?

  • How will your wine be distributed? Through bulk case stores, online sales, wine club exclusives, boutique wine shops?

Determine How Your Wine Is Unique

With the staggering amount of wines in the market at any given time, your wine must be different. Since wine is a natural product, and because there are so many steps in its production, each wine has specific and distinctive qualities which can be highlighted.

Again, here’s a few basic questions you need to consider:

  • What varietal will be in the bottle? You will market a White Zinfandel very differently than a vineyard designated Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • How many bottles or cases will you produce? Exclusivity can boost sales if promoted properly.

  • Do you follow any unusual or state-of-the-art practices such as biodynamic vineyard designs or sustainable farming?

  • Does your wine appeal to any current trends such as low-calorie or sulfite-free offerings?

  • Do you have an interesting or fun backstory to share about this wine?

  • Do you participate in philanthropic efforts? Millennials are especially interested in giving back to the community and improving the planet.

Exceptional marketing materials and website content will accentuate how your wine is different and ensure that it appeals to your target buyers.

More Than Just A Pretty Face

A recent report by revealed that most wine buyers rely on aesthetic cues to choose a wine. 82% of the study subjects admit that they made their selections based upon the appearance of the label. In that study, the overwhelming label choices included bright artwork and butterflies.

Another study found that while women buy 57% of all wine in the U.S., they are less influenced by wine ratings and more interested in the overall wine quality. The label design, wine philosophy, and bottle shape also played a role in women’s wine buying decisions.

While I would never recommend that every wine include butterflies or bright colors on its labeling, there are many ways to promote your wine which will expand your customer base, improve sales numbers and boost profits.

I could write a separate article for each of these ideas, but for now, here are a few general suggestions to make your bottle label stand out among the many options.

Distinctive Copy Style - Using a distinctive, consistent font and image style will unify each wine produced from vintage to vintage, or varietal to varietal. A great example of distinctive labeling comes from Charles Smith Wines with his bold, graphic labels, using only black and white.

A collection of Charles Smith wines with distinctive labels

Catchy Name Choice - Sometimes a play on words will appeal to a certain market group. Perhaps the winery location, history, or great backstory can lend itself to a memorable name. Or the name and label can exemplify the vineyard or winemaker’s personality. Michael David Winery’s Seven Deadly Zins and Bonny Doon’s Cardinal Zin work well as clever names and labels for their Zinfandel varietals which showcase these wineries' personalities as well.

Michael David Winery's clever 7 Deadly Zins label

Bonny Doon's eclectic take on Zinfandel

Famous Artwork - Many labels incorporate well known paintings or photos on their labels to attract a certain group of consumers. The art can vary from masterpieces to watercolors to modern abstract images depending on the desired impact. Some wineries double as art galleries so including artwork is a natural choice. Chateau Mouton Rothschild is famous for featuring art masterpieces on their labels for many generations.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild is famous for its label art such as this Picasso tribute

Famous Winemaker/Spokesperson - Similar to the way chefs have become popular celebrities on television and in the media, some winemakers have achieved cult status among more educated wine drinkers and journalists. Marketing can focus on the reputation of a famous winemaker or vineyard owner. Also, if a celebrity is associated with your wine, obtaining an endorsement can be a powerful way to draw attention to your wines.

Healthy Properties, Low Calorie - Health and fitness is a major trend, so any consumable product which caters to the health-conscious market could be a hit. Take Skinny Girl wine for example. By putting the calorie count on the bottle, along with a cute skinny girl cartoon, a certain demographic (single women in their 20s and 30s) will be more likely to choose this wine.

Skinnygirl's brand image label

Shelf Talkers - Many companies don’t take advantage of this additional marketing space on the edge of the retail shelf where the bottles sit. You can use this space for concise information not normally found on a bottle label, such as a backstory or a wine’s ranking from a well known publication or wine expert.

Be Unique And Get Noticed

These are just a few ideas to improve your wine marketing and brand awareness which will in turn boost sales, expand your customer base and increase profits. Each marketing strategy must be catered to each wine producer to be successful.

The fun part of my job is learning what makes a wine unique and creating a customized approach in my writing to accentuate these differences and achieve the maximum potential outcome for my clients. If you’re ready to incorporate a fresh approach in your marketing strategy, and need new ideas with solid copy for all of your print and online materials, contact me today.

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