The makings of a great back label

When wineries take little time to craft the descriptive message on the rear labels of their bottles, they miss a great opportunity to promote their wines. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Since planting his first Zinfandel vine in 1954, Rudy Maggio and his partners, Don and Robert Reynolds have become the premier growers of Lodi’s renowned ancient vine Zinfandel. For four generations their families have provided elite California winemakers with superb varietal fruit. Now they proudly put their name on wines that reflect their long and uncompromising commitments to sustainable agriculture and winemaking excellence.

That’s it. That’s the entire description on the back label. And believe it or not, this is the label from a Petite Sirah. 

Now let’s look at a much better way of handling this. Quinta Ferreira, a family-run operation near Oliver, British Columbia, puts this on the rear of its unoaked Chardonnay:

Family owned and operated Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery is located in the heart of Oliver, British Columbia — a community which is recognized as the Wine Capital of Canada. Our 20 acres of vineyard and winery are located on the Black Sage Bench well known for producing excellent quality grapes due to the desert terrain and ideal climate temperatures. Sample our wines while enjoying the breathtaking view of the landscape and a fabulous vision overlooking the community.

A clean and crisp Chardonnay, this wine exhibits white peach, citrus and bright ripe apple aromas, followed by bursts of exotic fruit, melon, apple, lemon and pear on the palate. The smooth acidity frames all the flavours together in this lively refreshing wine with a sumptuous mouth feel. Pair with soft cheeses, salads and seafood or on its own. Enjoy now and over the next 2-3 years.

Now this is a burst of information on the intellect! We learn something about the producer, the terroir, the name of the grape, the character of the wine itself, its pairing partners and its projected longevity. If this attempt lacks anything, it is the sure touch of an editor who might have eliminated some of the awkward phrasing, the factual repetition and the sense that each paragraph had its own author. Still, on balance, this has all the elements of a back label that projects a strong corporate brand, describes the product, and entices the consumer to buy. Make that your goal. 


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