Wine is an intimidating thing. So many grapes. So many countries. So many clever names and cute animals on the labels.
How does a person choose?
Well, you can sit through a wine class to get an introduction. You could ask the sales associate. Or you could follow Matthew Latkiewicz’s lead in his funny online analysis of wine “Sloshed: Maybe We Should Be Judging Wines by Their Labels.”
I’m only fairly familiar with grape varietals and wine producing regions – enough to know what I don’t like – but that’s about where it ends. So, I can understand Latkiewicz’s theory “label quality = wine quality:. I follow it myself (not right now, of course).
Latkiewicz’s theory has several categories and subcategories, and he offers witty “What to Expect” if you purchase this type of wine. Most categories I’d say his is right one (such as the “Animals Doing Things,” “Nostalgic Small-Town Vacation” and all the subcategories of “Clever.”).
The author sums up his experience saying “Obviously, I have not tasted every single wine in the world that has a label. I have simply tasted most of them, and I actually do find a relationship between label and wine. If I like the graphic design, I tend to like the wine.
“I chalk this up to two things: 1. We are a suggestive people. If I like how you look, I will tend to like you, or at least, I am inclined to like you. (But if I don’t like how you look, watch out.) 2. I make the assumption that the crew who makes the wine also chooses the label, at least at some level, right? So, when a label appeals to me, I think: ‘Well, I like their font choices. I probably like their wine choices, too.’”
This last point is exactly why I often judge labels. There is one particular local winery with atrocious labels. I won’t name names, but their choice in labels leads me to question their choice in wines. How about you?