Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Designer Labels

We are all seduced by labels one way or another – including those on bottles of wine.
Tongue-in-cheek names such as “Old Tart”, “Le Freak”, “Fat Bastard Chardonnay” and “Chat en Oeuf” are designed to shock and tickle our funny bones. They present a “new look, new style” in direct contrast to the classical, antique looking, Chateau engraved facades of the traditional bottle.

Anthony Rose writing for the Independent points out that animal labels are “in” too, not only in the name e.g.: “Arrogant Frog” and “Goats do Roam” (a jab at Cotes de Rhone) but also in the artwork:

“At a Morrison’s tasting, I came across four French bottles with, respectively, a Cat, a Hedgehog, a Sandpiper and a Butterfly on the label.”

Apparently wines with names like "Monkey Bay" and "Smoking Loon" outselling new non-animal brand names by almost 3 to 1.

If you are interested wine labels then Peter May's site winelabels.org is the answer to your prayers. Peter has also written a well illustrated and fascinating book on the subject - Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape - which is not only asborbing but shows the art and the inspiration behind the labels. It's available from Amazon.com.

Don’t Judge A Book By its Cover

It is not as if these animals have anything to do with the wine production but they are being used in a process of association. An attractive label draws us to the bottle and says something to our subconscious about the swirling contents within it.

It made me laugh as in the ancient Cider and Perry producing countryside around my home an Octogenarian Cow Man told me that should the odd fly or drunken wasp fall into the Cider barrel, let alone an inquisitive rat, they were left to dissolve – “adding to the flavour”. Imagine trying to portray that on the label!!!

Cider, back then was sold in barrels or those dull grey stone bottles you often see adorning the beams of drinking houses. No labelling there. It was the contents that attracted the Punter. They knew where the Cider came from, they saw it every day. Nowadays in this ever shrinking world labelling has to reflect the character of the contents to pull us in to buy. Few of us have travelled to the New World or had time to wander in the dusty, sun drenched vineyards of France to see where the contents of our latest purchase came from. The label has to tell us.

Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com

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