Many small wineries are used to making all their sales through their own tasting room. But what happens when those same wineries move to wine stores? If the winemaker is not there to take you through a wine tasting and the consumer is not at their winery, how do you communicate who you are? Smaller wineries especially need their wine label design to tell their brand story to compete with the wine giants on wine store shelves.

Here are a few ways your boutique winery can stand out:

1. Tell your unique brand story

Labels are all about telling a brand story. What story are you trying to tell? Click here to learn how to create your own brand story.

Your wine labels should match all of your other branding – your brochures, your website and your actual winery signage. There is a marketing rule that it takes at least 7 times for a design to become memorable to someone. The more you can get your brand – your logo, color scheme, tone of voice, and fonts – in front of potential customers, the better. It’s essential that when you do or create anything for your winery, you keep in mind what makes you unique. Use your logo on every piece of collateral, including your wine labels. Consistency over time creates trust. In this day and age perception is reality.

2. The importance of the typeface (font) you choose

The design of a wine label can make a difference between someone judging your wine as cheap or worth the high end price you are asking. The other week I helped judge the wine label design & packaging design for the Illinois State Fair Wine Competition. One of the biggest mistakes I saw small wineries make is their use of type that used a trendy font from 10 years ago. This makes the consumer perceive your wine as cheap. Do you want to emphasize the handcrafted nature of your wine? Use a font that compliments this mission.

3.The importance of your image/graphic

Let’s face it many boutique winery owners pick images that they like. One of the most important things to keep in mind when using an illustration or photo is that it is 100% unique and not clipart that someone else might use. Many times wine drinkers don’t remember the name of the wine they bought, but they do remember their was a large “R” on the label or a woman flying with a bicycle. The image should draw you in from across the aisle and make you want to pick it up.

4. Focus on a specific wine drinker

Who is your target market? Often when I ask clients that question, they reply with “All wine drinkers.” The problem with that thought process is that there are actually different segments inside the wine drinking population. Paying attention to who exactly your customers are, will help you create marketing campaigns that precisely target your niche.

For example, if your top wine buyers are “Image Seekers” they will check restaurant wine lists before they dine out so they can research wine scores online. If you want to appeal to this audience, make sure you reference outside reviews and wine scores on your website. Plus, know that Image Seekers are greatly influenced by packaging and design. Click here to read about the 6 different wine consumers.

5. Think of the wine store experience

When someone walks into a wine store, how do they pick wine? Let’s face it, people do judge a book by its cover, just like many people buy a wine by its label. One of my fellow wine judges worked at a wine store for 15 years. She said women especially buy based on the wine label. Often times people came into the store overwhelmed and she always asked them – what occasion is the wine for? When designing your label think – are people going to buy this wine for a family picnic? Dinner with their boss? Or weekend getaway with their girlfriends?

With that in mind, go into a wine store where your wine is carried and see what other wineries are on the shelf with you. Do you stand out or blend in or even worse, fail?

Rebecca is the owner of Bauerhaus Design, which specializes in building brands for wineries. Take our free 7 week wine marketing class to learn how to sell more wine by building your brand online at  sell-more-wine