Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Post 1:PENNY:Does A Label Change The Taste Of Wine?

The Australian wine industry exports 760 million litres of wine a year and is the fourth-largest exporter in the world; at home, Australians consume nearly 500 million litres of wine per year. 1820 saw the first domestic sales of wine with 1822 having the first export of Australian wine and first international prizes.
"At the 1873 Vienna Exhibition the French judges, tasting blind, praised some wines from Victoria, but withdrew in protest when the provenance of the wine was revealed, on the grounds that wines of that quality must clearly be French."

Packaging sells products, but none perhaps as fully as with wine. Traditionally a European industry, labels have remained the same for many hundreds of years, technology has also kept wine labels simple, 'three-by-four-inch rectangles printed on sheetfed offset equipment, and glue-applied to the bottle'. With the more recent, by winery standards, Australian and American industries has come the fresher attitude towards packaging and wine making in general.

Fred Scherrer of Scherrer Winery in California recently upgraded his wine labels to appeal to a more discerning market.
Originally, the Scherrer wine had a traditional label with elegant scrip, gold foil and the varietal rather than the winery the main point of focus. After testing on customers, it was found that the label was considered generic.

"Consumer logic goes something like this: If it looks like a private label, it must be a little cheaper, and if it’s cheaper, it can’t be as good as a more expensive wine."
It has been proven over and again that people will judge a product based on what it looks like. For food and wine, people will judge flavors differently, often making selections outside their normal choices due to packaging and labels.
"We asked 200 people in three cities to taste the same (unlabeled) white wine, poured from two different colored glass bottles — one a grassy green, the other a smoky gray.…….Two hundred comments later, one wine was overwhelmingly described as “grassy, fruity, bright, fresh” and the other as “complex, smoky, sophisticated, and mature.” It hardly matters that one was overwhelmingly judged superior to the other; the real lesson is just how much packaging can and does alter our experience of a wine."

A University study in Bordeaux, France, has recently shown that even experts are fallible.
"Professor Fredric Brocher took an ordinary bottle of Bordeaux, stuck a fancy label on it, and 40 of the connoisseurs proceeded to describe it as “woody”, “complex”, and “rounded.” Then he took the same bottle, this time masquerading as table wine, and most of the experts switched to “faulty” and “with a sting.”"

A similar study, run by Professor Brian Wansink and Dr. Collin Payne, combining wine and food has proven yet again the effect of a label on our choices.
41 people were given a free glass of Cabernet Sauvignon to go with an expensive French meal. Half the labels suggested they were from a winery in California, the other half from North Dakota (a less impressive region for wine) . However, all the wine was the same inexpensive brand.
"Those drinking what they thought was California wine, rated the wine and food as tasting better, and ate 11% more of their food. They were also more likely to make return reservations.
To confirm this, a similar study was conducted with 49 MBA students at a wine and cheese reception. Again, those given wine labeled from California rated the wine as 85% higher and the cheese as 50% higher."

This is a commonly studied area of marketing. However, the basic psychology is the same for all marketing and packaging.
Would McDonalds, Boost or Uncle Toby's Muesli Bars, taste different if packaged differently?


















  1. I love that the same wine can taste different depending on the bottle, and that it can cause people to eat more of their meal, so interesting. I wonder if they told them after that it was the same wine and what their response would have been when they found out. There are some amazing labels out there.

  2. An excellent post, lots of great visual examples. I particularly like the cork 'T' at the start.
    A very interesting topic, well researched.

  3. 'Perception is Reality, Reality is not Reality, it is only what People Think.' Paul Rand