Judging a Wine By Its Cover

Judging a Wine By Its Cover

One of the most common questions I get is: is it ever OK to buy a wine because of its label? The right answer, of course, is no. But. From time to time, I think it’s perfectly fine to buy a wine based on the label design. And I am not immune. No matter how sophisticated my wine tastes get, I will always reserve the right to walk into the wine store and pick up a bottle just because I like the look of it. Cheesy? Kinda. But I don’t care. I do, however, stick to a few rules to keep disappointment at bay.

1. Pick your poison. Decide what your one weakness is and stick to it. A graphic design geek? Feel free to pick up a bottle just because you like the font. Have a green thumb? Stick to labels with pretty flowers. As you can see, my deal is dogs. If I see a label with a dog on it (and I’ve had an annoying day at work, and it’s a blustery late fall evening, and I’m stressed about Christmas shopping), I find it hard to resist. Fancy script and pretty colors don’t move me. I know what my Achilles heel is and I accept it.

2. Set your ceiling. I won’t pay more than $18 for a “love the label” wine. Figure out what your price cap is and stick to it.

3. Keep your expectations in check. This Les Compagnons Cabernet Sauvignon was, frankly, not very good, with weird artificial candy flavors that had nothing to do with Cabernet Sauvignon — or any grape, for that matter. At $15.99, it squeaked in under my price limit, and a percentage of proceeds goes to animal charities. Plus the illustration is kinda cute, don’t you think?

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