Name that wine

By Posted on Jul 30 2015 | By

Labels—both human and vinous—can drive success

Names make a difference. Science says so.

Take human names. UCLA psychology professor, Albert Mehrabian, tested a slew of names to see how attractive people found them. Some equated to success; others to popularity or kindness.

Traditional names such as Rachel or Robert got a jump start in the “it’s a jungle out there” world.

But modern alternative names did not score nearly as well. Breeze for example rated 16 on a 100 point sale.

“A name is part of an impression package. If you want to give your child a name that connotes low status, then you need to be aware of the consequences,” Mehrabian cautioned.

Might the same be true for wine? Maybe.

But maybe not.

Critter wines
All of us need to be a tad skeptical when it comes pop psychology assessments. But back in the early 2000s, a phenomenon erupted in the wine world called Critter Wines. Now that moniker could not possibly sell wine, right? Think again.

The winery known worldwide for largely establishing the branding phenomenon was Yellow Tail. The company’s cute, colorful marsupial helped launch an ocean of inexpensive wine.

Yellow TailOf course, Yellow Tail also perfected an easy drinking libation to match its label. They produced a wine with less tannin and acidity while simultaneously bumping up the residual sugar a tad.

The masses loved it. How much? Today, Yellow Tail has sold more than a billion bottles worldwide. That’s a lot of hopping kangaroos. It also spawned an avalanche of other critter wines.

As you negotiate the wine aisle in the local grocery store today you’ll see: Goats Do Roam, Dancing Bull, Rex Goliath, The Little Penguin, Four Emus, Three Blind Moose, Cardinal Point, Porcupine Ridge, Badger Mountain, Butterfly Creek; the list goes on but you get the idea.

All of this labeling is designed to demystify wine and make it more fun. One major target audience for such labeling is millennials; a cohort between the ages of 20 to the mid-30s and one of the fastest growing segments of wine drinkers.

It’s important for the wine industry to capture these folks today because “he who rocks the cradle rules the world.” In 20 years, ageing millennials will have a wallet full of cash to spend on wine.

So while fun wine labels can move the sales needle it might also telegraph a less prestigious wine in a buyer’s mind. But if the wine is tasty and the cash register keeps ringing, who cares?


Published in the Spring 2015 edition of inFauquier magazine.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES