A tale of two wine-drinking copywriters

Wine label for Leaning Cow shiraz
The label for a bottle of Leaning Cow shiraz

Updated 23 September 2021 This post about copywriting wine labels was updated because Coe & Co no longer has a website. Plus the price of a bottle of RunRig has gone up from $299 to $500. Despite the horrible label on the wine bottle.

Last week I was shopping for wine and had to pull a bottle of Leaning Cow shiraz off the shelf. The askew label on the front made it irresistible; it was the copywriting on the equally atilt label on the back that made me buy it. Compare the charming story on the back of the bottle of Leaning Cow with the revolting tasting notes for another shiraz. Which do you prefer?

A bottle of Leaning Cow was going for $18. A bottle of Torbreck RunRig Shiraz 2004 will set you back $500 at Dan Murphy’s. But check out these tasting notes someone sent me:

Wine label
A revolting-sounding wine

I’m told this is a great wine, but I can’t say I fancy a mouthful of smoke, graphite and melted tar. But I’m mightily impressed that someone could pick out above the tar, the smoke, the graphite, the scorching earth and the slow-roasted meats that the hint of marmalade is of the homemade variety, not the shop-bought stuff.

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The copywriting on Leaning Cow’’s label concentrates on the poetic-but-irrelevant at the expense of information about the wine. Torbreck’’s tasting notes are all about the wine but seem to lose all sight of what the ordinary person might think tastes nice. (Although maybe you’re not all that ordinary if you’’re dropping $500 on a bottle of red.)

What do you make of the copywriting on these labels?

These are two contrasting copywriting approaches: heavy on story, light on info or the reverse. Which approach works for you? And have you thought about whether you’re using the right one in your business?

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