Wine bottles and labels are a peacock’s tailfeathers – don’t be a peahen

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WASHINGTON STATE, September 18, 2014 – Many consumers may not realize it, but many wineries all over the world are increasing their profits not via a better wine, but by playing to a mass consumerism mentality. With the help of market experts, everything they do – from the label design to the type of bottle they choose is coldly calculated to make you – the consumer – choose that bottle from the many standing side-by-side vying for your eye.

It has nothing to do with the wine inside the bottle. It has everything to do with standing out in a crowd.

Think of the wine bottle and its label as a peacock.

The next time you go and buy a bottle of wine:

  • What does the label look like?
  • Does it have foil on top?
  • How heavy is the bottle?
  • How big does the bottle appear?

All of these elements are like the wineries playing the part of a male peacock. Peacocks strutting their stuff in hopes of attracting a peahen in much the same way wineries hope to attract you, the customer.

Don’t buy your wine based on external packaging.  Instead learn to read the wine’s label. As you learn which wines you like, the label data, not picture, can help you determine if the wine inside is one you may like. You can actually keep a book of labels, coaxed from bottles that you like, with a few notes as to why you like that particular bottle, and what foods you paired it with.

A knowledgeable staff person at your favorite wine shop can help you to find new bottles based on your likes and dislikes, not the cute name or foiled picture.


We also have the tired and utterly useless 100-point system which hijacked the industry years ago. The fallout means the consumer ends up paying a great deal more for a wine if it gets a score above 92 points. Unless you’ve found that your palate tends to agree with certain wine critics, then you shouldn’t buy a wine based on its score, either.

It’s best to taste wines, take notes, learn the differences between a red table wine and a straight Cabernet Sauvignon or a wine from a high altitude vineyard or valley grapes.

There are a few other strictly packaging tricks the wineries do to make you think a wine is worth more than it should be, some of which are:

  • They use bottles that have a very deep punt (the inverted nipple on the bottom of the bottle) which offsets the displacement and makes it appear as if there’s more wine than a standard 750ml bottle would hold.
  • This bigger size also adds to the weight of the bottle so that when an unsuspecting customer picks it up, they subconsciously think that it’s a bigger bottle than it really is.
  • Foil – what purpose does it really serve? It does nothing to help the quality of the wine but it has everything to do with covering up that common empty space between where the wine levels off at and the bottom of the cork. Consequently, this makes consumers subconsciously believe they are getting more than what they actually are.

The bottom line here is, that most wineries are hoping to attract new consumers based on fancy packaging or bigger bottles that feel more substantial. Instead of actually getting people to taste their wines, they play the part of the male peacock and raise their “feathers” (decorations) in hopes of attracting a mate (us, the consumer).

The biggest tragedy of all? According to reports, we more often than not play right into their hands.

PAIRED: Talking about fall apples & ciders with Chef Mary & Duane on on the CommDigiNews Hour on Blog Talk Radio.

With fall around the corner, on Paired with Chef Mary and wine expert Duane Pemberton the conversation is about apples and ciders. Apples are coming into season and as many of you know there are so many different varieties at the grocery store it’s hard to know which one to purchase.

Let Chef Mary and Duane help you to better understand a Granny Smith from Gala!

We also have guest Andrew Brown of Blue mountain Cider company discussing their award winning ciders.

READ ALSO: PAIRED: Talking about fall apples & ciders with Chef Mary & Duane on Blog Talk Radio

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  • Nicely explained, Duane. I agree wholeheartedly on the 100 point rating system. I rely on a wine merchant who has never steered me wrong. Many of the wines the buyers recommend are utter “no names” to me, but I have enjoyed them all and raved over many.

  • Granted, too many consumers buy based on the reviews by Robert Parker, aka, “The Bob” and wineries craft wines targeting his palate. By the same token, his expertise, particularly in the Napa Valley appellations and the Pauillac AOC is unparalleled.
    Greg S. Maizlish, Esq.