Winebits 418: Cheap wine, Caribbean wine, wine labels

cheap wine ? Why would you buy that? Blake Gray looks at the provenance of a handful of grocery store sale wines, using the federal government’s handy and epic “who made this wine?” website (which isn’t what it’s called, but should be). Not surprisingly, most of the wines are made by companies that make cheap wine under a variety of different names, and only three of the nine sale wines are made by companies that were upfront about who was making it. The rest, as noted here many times, are made to sound good on the label, usually by a bulk producer who does a lot of this sort of thing. Blake, as always, wonders why no one complains about the poor quality of the wine, overlooking the fact that most consumers don’t think it’s poor quality. For that, we can thank the wine business for all the time and effort it puts into wine education.

? Even in the islands: This is taking local wine where even the Wine Curmudgeon didn’t think it would go — grape wine from the Caribbean, from a coastal region in the Dominican Republic and made with one of my favorite grapes, colombard. The verdict on the white Ocoa (part of a $24 million resort development)? “It ?s got an aroma of citrus, tropical fruit and oak, with a flavor profile of mango, dried fruit and citrus… wine with a good, crisp finish. If you didn ?t know, you ?d never guess this was a wine from outside the world ?s traditional winemaking spots. And it ?s actually quite good, perfect for a hot day on the beach in the Dominican Republic.”

? Tart up that label: Nielsen, the consumer research organization, discusses why wine label design is so important in selling wine. Some of it is obvious, but there is also the sense that there are too many wines — 4,200 new ones in 2014, about 12.5 percent of the market — and that consumers “are making most of their decisions at shelf. Relative to other major consumer categories, wine is a fragmented category with lower brand loyalty and more decisions being made at point of purchase.”