ake no doubt: what’s in the bottle counts. But so does
what’s on it, especially now that the proverbial wine
lake” has grown into a global ocean. And more than
ever, the imagery wine suppliers are choosing to proj-
ect—and which in turn merchants are compelled to embrace—
involves words and art that favor a “concept” instead of, or on
top of, a wine’s ampelographic information.
The era of wine being labeled predictably is over. The standard
formula of “Somebody’s Something from Somewhere” still works,
on a boilerplate level. But traditional wine lingo has always been
problematic for Americans, most of whom just want something
tasty to drink. If the Old World represents wines based on place,
and the New World represents wines based on grapes, it is entirely
reasonable to frame a third sort of world—one where wines project
The steady growth of more expressive wine branding is a natural
byproduct of both the crowded wine marketplace and modern
consumer culture. Wines labeled Chateau This and Over-There
Vineyards are feeling rather…20
century. The material world
around us today is fueled by brands that “speak” to people, wearing
their attributes as vividly as possible. Detergents are designed
to look and sound clean. Electronic gadgets exude utility and
efficiency. Athletic products evoke speed, strength and optimum
performance. Why should wine be any different?
f o r w i n e
Old World wines reflect place.
New World wines come from grapes.
Get set for the Next World— where
wines are based on concepts.
by w. r. tish