I read Tamlyn Currin’s “On a pink soap box” from Jancis Robinson’s site with great interest. It focuses on the trend of rosé wine bottles coming in all kinds of shapes and sizes. As well as labels you might charitably define as whimsical but more likely garish.
Currin brings up many important points regarding this development. Please give it a read as the article is witty, pointed, and thought-provoking.
(Ok, I’ll summarize a few points but I have 100% faith you will check it out.)
From an environmental perspective, think of all the energy needed to produce and ship bottles with extra heft and superfluous doodads attached.
Also, from an aesthetic viewpoint she says, “Who wants to buy a bottle of wine that looks like a particularly tacky can of toilet spray?” (See above link for a pic of said bottle.)
Finally, images on rosé wine bottles of bathing-suited, half-naked bodies are “…unimaginative and it’s shallow and it is, quite frankly, demeaning (those half-naked bodies are never of fat men).”
The issue of seeing all kinds of attention-getting shapes and sizes was something I spoke of with Roger Voss on our podcast about Provence rosé. Currin says:
….I quizzed various (intelligent) people about their opinions on the more extreme rosé bottles. Instead of disdain, there was genuine admiration and approval. Some even went so far as to say that they would select these rosés based on their appearance. (I would do the opposite.)
I would definitely pick up a bottle of rosé off the shelf because of how it looks. Would I buy it? Maybe. But getting it from shelf to hand is a major marketing victory. My take? These bottles are coming in so many different guises because rosé is starting to all look the same, color-wise. (See my VinePair article about rosé beyond the pale.) It’s like seeing a wall of Bordeaux with similar old-timey black and white labels with a drawing of the château on them.
With rosé so crazy popular right now, shelves now have a lot more bottles and competition. If the wine is all the pale, ballet slipper pink color, how do you differentiate yourself? You need a standout label and bottle. It doesn’t have to be a pandering, puked-up graphic design crime scene, though.
How important is bottle shape/label style when it comes to discovering a new wine?
More rosé: Two highly recommended books on the subject, a sparkling version from Mount Etna, and a Washington State star.