The Future of Wine Labels–What Fun!!

It appears that the future of wine labels may include a hefty dose of Ugly.

A little "ugly" never hurt anyone, but a hefty dose of ugly is just down right….ugly.

It appears there is a serious move to force nutritional labels on alcohol bottlings, including wine. It’s a Bush Administration proposal that is supported fully by The Center For Science in the Public Interest…the folks who spent time particularly in the 1990s explaining to us all why we will all die very quickly if we eat Movie Theater Popcorn, Alfredo Sauce, and any other food that is not made of pure fiber.

If you want a good look at what the proposed nutritional labels will add to a pretty package of wine, go here to the WineLoversPage, where I stole the label on the image to the left. Behold, the future of wine packaging.

I know…..consumers NEED this info. According to Diageo, one of the largest alcohol beverage companies in the world that supports this initiative, it is "a giant and very positive step in the right direction…Overwhelmingly people want this kind of information on the package."

Perhaps. Who am I to say what consumers want and what constitutes giant steps. I do know that designing labels and packaging for clients of Wark Communications will me much less enjoyable than before. But who am I do determine what’s enjoyable?

25 Responses

  1. Greg - August 3, 2007

    Do you think that it is important, for example, for diabetics to know how much sugar and carbohydrates are in wine? At the moment, they have no idea. I agree that the sexiness of the wine label will take a hit, but there is some information that is necessary for consumers to make informed decisions.

  2. Agent Red - August 3, 2007

    How about using hang tags on every bottle? Too easy to remove, perhaps? Alas.

  3. el jefe - August 3, 2007

    Greg – for the diabetics I know (I’m no expert on the disease, I just know what they tell me) the issue is the alcohol – they must limit their intake. The % by volume is already disclosed. Looking at the example label, most of the other “standard” nutritional items are vanishingly small or zero.
    Calories and sugar/carbs can be interesting, but they will be similar across all similar (eg red) wines – just like apples. Apples don’t have nutritional labels, but the info for common foods like an apple can be looked up on the web or at any library.

  4. el jefe - August 3, 2007

    Red – also too expensive to hang on every bottle…!

  5. Jack - August 3, 2007

    All of that nonsense (incl. sulphites, pregnant women, etc.) needs to be dropped from wine bottle labels. It just doesn’t get more stupid than having incorrect information on the label.

  6. Anneliese - August 3, 2007

    If we must go this route, then how about a restickable (is that a word?) label that the consumer may lift up to see the Nutritional Contents listed below? I’ve seen this type of label on mouthwashes and medicines.

  7. Dr. Debs - August 3, 2007

    Anneliese took the words right out of my mouth. If this is absolutely necessary, why not put it inside a little sticky flap. It will cost more, I know, but I’ve seen these, too, on tiny bottles of things where they can’t fit the ingredients and the nutritional info on the label because the bottle’s too small.
    I appreciate the needs of diabetics, the overweight, pregnant/nursing moms, and the sulfite sensitive. But most of these folks are under some kind of medical attention, and that attention includes long lists of foods to avoid and/or limit. I also agree with Tom that my apple is not stickered, because apple calorie counts are within a range. Does the alcohol content really alter the calories in a glass?
    This seems like classic government overkill to me. The day they slap a sticker on my apple I’m moving to Canada.

  8. JB - August 3, 2007

    ugh. importers are going to love this one. they already have stringent FDA standards for the back labels they put on bottles, and now more space needs to be taken up with this? how about a sticker or label to go on the cardboard case boxes of wine, rather than on each individual bottle? A store could post that label alongside their shelf-talkers, etc.

  9. Chris Campbell - August 4, 2007

    This move will certainly popularize those layered peel away wine labels in my household.

  10. Thomas - August 4, 2007

    I agree with you, but may I correct one thing: FDA has nothing to do with wine label regulations–I am sure CSPI (and probably the Bush fiasco crowd) would like them to, and we should be happy that they are not.
    I predict that one day the wine label will be handed over to FDA, after TTB and FDA figure out the best way to share the pie so that the former gets its tax revenue and the latter gets its nanny points in with CSPI, which, by its actions proves neither for science nor the consumer’s interest.

  11. Jill - August 4, 2007

    my bad…ttd.

  12. Golly - August 5, 2007

    Maybe when you go through a supermarket checkout the till could calculate the nutritional value of your week’s groceries and if they fail to meet an appropriate threshold the store detective could detain you for compulsory re-education. They could train actual nanny’s to do it!

  13. Kathleen - August 5, 2007

    I agree with the sticky label idea for handling additional wine information.
    I would like to see winery’s include a list of the grape varietals they use in making the wine on the back of the bottle.
    Albany, NY

  14. Alastair Bathgate - August 6, 2007

    One word – NANNY STATE! (OK that’s two words but you get my drift).
    One of the beauties of wine is the label for me, for example check out the New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs above.
    I am all for including useful information and, where medical requirements dictate an important difference between similar products (e.g. breakfast cereals that “may contain nuts”) but pleeeeeeze. This is madness and has to stop. The world needs to go back to using the common sense our ancestors were blessed with.

  15. dan - August 6, 2007

    I think the image shown here is pretty unrealistic compared to what you would get in practice. The same info on my can of diet-coke is displayed in a space about 1″ x 2.5″.
    I’m sure a decent designer could fit the necessary info onto the back label of a wine bottle with minimal or no net negative effect on the packaging.

  16. Steve - August 7, 2007

    On the upside, it looks as if the government now considers wine more a food than a dangerous vice (like alcohol, tobacco and firearms).

  17. Fredric Koeppel - August 7, 2007

    Look, people who shouldn’t drink wine for health reasons already know it; people who shouldn’t drink wine because of the calories already know that they should limit their consumption. Wine has, let’s face it, almost no nutritional value; on the other hand, it does (red wine in particular) possess moderate health value; I even saw a label recently that includes the amount of resversatrol; talk about jumping on the trend-wagon! I can think of few products that need a nutritional label less than wine, except perhaps for an indication of calories per six-pounce glass.

  18. Tish - August 8, 2007

    I’mnot so sure the nutritional labeling is such a horrible idea. From the packaging standpoint, I suspect the final format would be something much smaller than your graphic suggests might be the end result. Just look at small packages of food for sale today. It is highly unlikley the regulations would be such that producers would have to make the nutirional data panel larger than the product’s main identifying label(s). Moreover, the public debate over the new labels might spawn another public forum for wine’s health benefits. And maybe Wine Institute or other groups would be able to at least generate a publicly noticed argument that if the govt wants to mandate nutritional information, it should also allow health-related information.
    It is all specualtion now, of course, but I simply doubt that any new requriements would really change much. In fact, treating wine more like food (as noted by Steve above) and having it packaged more like mainstream goods can only help wine become more accepted as a part of normal life rather than as a niche.

  19. Eternal Recurrence - August 9, 2007

    Information wants to be free but its not!

    In the comments to yesterdays post about food regulations, my friend David distinguished rules that limit consumers choices (bad) from rules that give consumers more information (good). I agree that the former are worse than the latter, …

  20. Peter Renton - August 10, 2007

    I agree with Alistair on this one. The bottom line is this will have very little impact on the visual appeal of wine labels. Ok, so it might cost a little more because you will need a 3.5″ x 5″ label on the back instead of a 3″ x 4″, but any designer worth their salt will be able to fit everything in a small box on the back label. The front label should not be impacted AT ALL.

  21. Karen Smith - August 11, 2007

    it’s not pretty at all. i beleive someone said hang tag? I’ll go for that.

  22. The Wine Commonsewer - August 13, 2007

    Assuming for the moment that this labeling idea is a good one we must then ask ourselves why every good idea must become ham handed law? It’s not like the information you want or need isn’t available.
    Or maybe we should just drop the pretense that we are grown-up intelligent adults living in a free country and mandate colonoscopies and bran cereal for everyone over fifty. I mean, that would do light years more good than nutrition labeling on wine bottles.

  23. The Wine Commonsewer - August 15, 2007

    Coming To Your Neighborhood Soon: Nutritional Labeling On Wine Bottles Colonoscopies For All!

    Good Morning Gentle Readers, Like that 1958 Sci-Fi thriller, The Blob, the Nanny State oozes ever onward leaving behind an opaque, shimmering, jellyfish-like substance reducing all it has touched to atonal shades of gray. From Tom at Fermentation….. …

  24. Benjamin - September 13, 2007

    Man, these labels drive me crazy anyways. Why add nutrition info to them?
    I started a little overview of the different labels, maybe I am not the only one who does not get these Italian and Spanish abreviations:

  25. Joe - October 12, 2007

    Hello All,
    I am selling a AccuWrap Bottle Labeling machine by RePack
    It is similar to this
    Would be good for anyone or Company who needs to apply labels to bottles, Cans, Jars or any other cylinder. Could be for a start up business selling your own BBQ sauce, Bottled water, soda, juice, candles, etc.
    It operates on regular household current of 110V AC, just plug it in to your outlet at home! Great feature. I have no manual for it but one can be obtained through RePack if needed. I can show you how to thread the labels in the machine. Not sure of the age, but I would assume its about 10-15 years old. A system like this new runs about $18K(quoted from repack).
    The unit is about 6′ wide and 3′ deep and 4′ tall. The Conveyor belt is about 8′, its weight is about 200lbs, a couple of guys should be able to lift it up. Could fit in the back of a pickup truck or box truck.
    Must pickup in North Brunswick, NJ 08902.
    Thank you
    [email protected]

Leave a Reply