The Grapevine

Is Ingredient Disclosure Good for Wine Marketing?

March 29th, 2017

In an era of ever-rising food awareness, would listing the ingredients that go into each bottle of wine be a good thing? [level-members]

More and more food consumers have taken a side in the battle of GMOs. More and more are making decisions about which “organic” and “free-range” options are worth the premium prices. (I put those words in quotes because they aren’t always used consistently in the marketplace.) And more and more wine consumers have a growing awareness of things like natural wines and biodynamic grape farming.

So does it make sense for wine labels to include ingredient lists the way nearly all food products do? As we know, there can be a lot more than grape juice in a bottle of wine, particularly mass-market wines. (See “How Cheap, Delicious Wine is Made” in Monday’s industry news roundup.)

I would argue that ingredient disclosure would be an excellent, if painful, step in the right direction for wine in the long run.

Painful because a lot of less sophisticated wine consumers will be shocked at what goes into the mass-market wines they drink. The jump in price they may have to make to find less processed wines might drive them back to beer and spirits.

But, given the premium that Millennials place on “authenticity,” wines that are simpler and more “pure” are likely to do better in the long run than highly processed wines.

Granted organics are a small part of the food market, in part because of their higher price, and would likely be a small part of the wine market. But the changing demographics seem to indicate that clean, organic products are only going to grow in the next decade.

So, would you be comfortable making “purity” or “cleanliness” or whatever term you want to use a part of your marketing? It would require researching the wines you sell to find examples in each varietal and price point that are less “produced” than other options. You might be able to get some of this information from your distributors, and just asking for the information can sometimes bring about change as the chorus of requests for similar information grows.

The question is, would it have a positive impact on your business? [/level-members]