A tale of two wine-drinking copywriters

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?

Leaning Cow is $18 on Coe & Co’s website. A bottle of Torbreck RunRig Shiraz 2004 will set you back $239.99 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 $240 on a bottle of red.)

They’re 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?