In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for wine in the United States. With that, the competition also increased with the growing number of wines in the market. So how does a wine stand out in the crowd of many? In terms of “first impressions” in a situation where a consumer cannot taste the wine itself, such as a retail shop or online store, the eyes typically are the first factor in purchasing decisions. 

Interesting enough, there has been research in many areas of the psychology of wine marketing and its ties to consumer preferences1. There have been studies that showed that people equate quality with various wine factors: label, appellation, organic/biodynamic designations, and of course, price. I’ve heard many observations based on visuals cues, like “Oh, this wine must be really good since it’s $100,” “This wine can’t be that good if it’s that cheap,” or even, “This wine looks like it’ll be good!”

In 2013, David Schuemann (CF Brand Design) published the book 99 Bottles of Wine, which shares on 99 of their company’s most successful packaging designs and the inspiration and stories behind them. The wine consumer market has evolved over the years, and Schuemann shares on some of the strategies for success with these changing times. 

The first sentence of the CF Brand Design philosophy states: “One of the keys to building and launching a successful brand is the ability to break through the ever-growing crowd of competitors.” (

Producers have continued to seek innovative ways to attract consumers to their wines, and with technological advances, the efforts are getting more and more creative. In June of 2018, I wrote an article about mixed reality technology and how Treasury Wine Estates has embraced that technology to help set their wines apart. Wine packaging should be able to bridge the emotion and cognitive connections with people, and that can be done with specialized marketing strategies, such as storytelling and unique designs. 

Simple enhancements to a wine label can make a wine look more expensive than it actually is. Think about your entry level wines that have gold features or embossing. Typically, higher end wines tend to become more simple, neutral and straightforward… no fancy designs. Interesting, Schuemann explains that the more complex, “louder” labels work for your entry level wines (<$10 range). 

Every single portion of a wine’s packaging is well thought out and considered. From the label, to the description, the bottle choice, even the wine capsule/foil, it all makes a difference. This isn’t even taking into account once a wine hits the retail shelves, where location, location, location becomes key. 

To learn more about the “behind the scenes” of wine brand design and marketing, check out the 2013 NPR special that covered the release of Schuemann’s book:

Fun fact: Schuemann shares that more seasoned wine consumers find that wine labels with critters on them find those wines to
look “cheap.”


1 Wine Market Research Articles 

U.S. wine consumer preferences for bottle characteristics, back label extrinsic cues and wine composition: A conjoint analysis (

Marketing actions can modulate neural representations of experienced pleasantness (