One of my favorite activities as a buyer at the QFC Broadway Market in Seattle was hand-writing notes about wines I personally selected for the store. (I also had crazy things happen there.) We refer to such written missives in the business as “shelf talkers.”
What they all have in common is a long profile and a width less than that of a wine bottle. Huge brands have really “meh” generic ones. Some sales reps write their own. I remember fondly one rep who made these really fun laminated shelf talkers. That was great because they take a lot of abuse. Her superhero persona was “The Laminator.” Her powers? Selling a hell of a lot of wine with her enthusiastic prose.
Recently I was in Cold Spring, New York. A charming little town in the Hudson Valley, I toured around with a fellow wine biz pro/local resident/all-around ace (thanks, Sarah). We popped into many delightful, highly instagrammable shops. One notable location was Flowercup Wine.
Frankly, they have the best shelf talkers I’ve ever seen. The combination of the layout, words, and images was an informative delight. Here is one example:
You start with a little tasting note, brief geography/soil info, plus a fun fact about beekeeping. Region and grape are then listed, followed by nuts-and-bolts production methods. It all finishes with the winery’s sustainable practices.
Then, the fun part.
I love the images used to denote the style, personality, effect, and flavors of the wine. The “effect” is really cool, as I like to think emotionally/philosophically as far as the impact of an intriguing bottle.
They also are clearly aligned with my interests and passions, like supporting dark rosés. Also, the owners are fans of dinosaurs and cheese.
Two More Stops in Cold Spring
There’s a nice General Store. Don’t forget to pick up some flowers in the back of the shop.
Even if you don’t need a haircut, go to Barber and Brew and have some beers. There’s a bar past the chairs. If you do need a trim, you get a discounted beer afterward. How cool is that?
Tell me about a wine shop you dig.
For more on shelf talkers, check out this article in SevenFifty Daily.