Last week, I wrote a post about producers needing to be savvy to marketing and input. As it turns out, it cuts both ways. I have recently found myself in a strange set of circumstances, and perhaps ironic given the above mentioned post.
Last week I showed the wines of 2 different producers to a large, but boutique distributor. They are just putting their book together, and it would seem that both of these wineries would have been good fits. They turned both down completely. I got a laundry list of issues about these wineries that they had, but almost none of the comments were directed towards the quality of the product. They had issues with the names of the wines, shapes of the bottles, labels, color scheme, you name it.
This shocked me. For one, I am a pretty good judge of the "whole package" and while I can see that they were not their strongest asset (the packaging), for me, it wasn't really an issue. Second, I felt that from such professionals, that this was a pretty rookie take on the wines. If you are a boutique wine distributor, you should be equipped to sell wine you believe in, regardless of what the packaging looks like. Were they using the packaging as an excuse? Do restaurants even care what the label looks like? Where is your conviction? While I ranted against producers that fail to recognize what is going on out there, I doubly rail against the machine that prioritizes packaging over what's inside. Of the 2 wines, one is such undeniable quality, that it is nearly a cult wine in it's home state, and I'm lucky to have any to sell. I respect contrary opinions, and encourage them. I take major umbrage with the prejudice that this distributor took with these products.
Don't forget, no one has ever accused anyone for having a great eye for labels in the wine business.
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