The Grapevine

Naming Wines – The Art and Science

July 23rd, 2013

A rose may smell as sweet by another name, but a rosé may not. Or, it may not sell as well. Here’s the skinny. [level-members]

According to a report on NPR in 2012, if you want to appeal to a more knowledgeable (and presumably, more free-spending) wine consumer, your best bet is to confuse him. It turns out that the more knowledgeable a wine consumer is, the more susceptible he is to fancy-sounding names.

The cognoscenti also shun anything with simple or cutesy names.

Less knowledgeable buyers prefer the simple or fun names, such as Fat Bastard.

I wonder what it says about me that I’m a fairly regular consumer of Il Bastardo, an inexpensive Sangiovese? Clearly I’m not a complete philistine, since I must speak Italian … right?

The lesson here for retailers is knowing your audience. As you talk to a customer you don’t know, tease out their level of knowledge, what they’ve liked in the past, and what they’re looking for. You’ll know whether to offer them the Fat Bastard or the Blaufrankisch.