Guilty: Judging a Wine by its Label

September 26, 2014 No comments »

Choosing a wine to take home at a winery is really, really easy.  Why?  Because you get to taste them all!  Not so in a wine store.  Let’s say you are invited to a friend’s home for dinner.  They ask you to brink a bottle of rose.  You, of course, immediately think of Ponte 2013 Pas Doux, but upon discovering it is sold out, you’re forced to go to a wine shop to make your selection.  You find the rose section and scanning, scanning, scanning…you have no idea which one to get.  There’s no way you’re going to stand there and read all the labels to see which description sounds best.  The answer lies on the label.  At least for me it does.  I suppose this mentality stems from the philosophy that if I like the art that the winemaker has chosen for their wine (in other words, I like their taste), I’ll like the wine, too.  Brilliant, yes?  Let me back up here and say that what I’m willing to pay for the bottle narrows my choices down as well.  Once that is determined, it’s all about the label.  Sure, it’s a shot in the dark, but honestly, how else does one choose?

Marketing wine must be a ball, if not a circus.  Some labels are cute, some are oh-so-fancy, others are downright hilarious, but they all are meant to play on the emotions of potential buyers.  I tend to gravitate toward those labels that take me away, in a sense: bicycles, baguettes, European cafes.  Others might go for the label that is hip and plain and scripted in courier typewriter font, because it’s simple and cool and doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Flowery, outdoorsy, scandalous, manly…there is a wine (label) for just about everyone.


Vintage movie poster-style.  Photo credit.            Molly Dooker quirky.  Photo credit


Can we say “understated”?  Photo credit


Ponte’s wine labels have certainly transitioned over the years.  In 2003, we opened the winery with seven wines.  The artwork from some of these wines – Juliet, Isabel – are still used today even though the look of the labels has changed somewhat.

Same art as 2003, slightly different look.


Ponte wine labels, old and new

Our only label that has remained unchanged is that of Beverino.


Timeless, unchanged Beverino.

And, of course, there is our art-less label of Zinfandel Port.  It’s been altered slightly over the years but is generally the same.  Then again, this exceptional wine speaks for itself.


As our wine list grew and our brand became more streamlined, we transitioned our label art (with the exception of the aforementioned four) from whimsical to elegant, while still evoking our signature “Day in the Country” feel.   Fortunately, visitors to Ponte don’t have to rely on our labels to help them choose a wine they’ll love.  They just need to step up to the tasting counter and sip away.   So much easier and virtually risk-free!


Our freshly labeled and bottled Montepulciano 2011 hasn’t yet been released.

What about you?  Do you judge a (non-Ponte) wine by its label?  And which Ponte label is your favorite?

–Erica Martinez


Posted by , September 26, 2014 No comments

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