Sonoma County – Should it be on your wine label?

19 Feb

Sonoma County wineries are currently buzzing with whether they would eventually be required to put “Sonoma County” on the label, much like Napa and Paso Robles require wineries to put those counties on the label in addition to the AVA.

According to the Sonoma County Vintners, the organization that is interested in pursuing the legislation, adding “Sonoma County” would help retailers AND consumers recognize the wines from the region and would help sell wines from more obscure regions like Green Valley and Chalk Hill — AVAs that your average beginner wine drinker doesn’t really know about.

People from Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Coast think it would be redundant — after all, they say, do consumers really need to see Sonoma Coast AND Sonoma County on the same bottle of wine? We’ve had lots of discussions here in the Petaluma Gap and some vintners think it is silly to have the double “Sonoma” label.

But as any marketer (and psychologist) knows, the more people see something, the more they like it, so seeing Sonoma over and over again isn’t a bad thing.

Steve Heimoff over on his blog thinks that people should just make good wine — that is doesn’t matter what it says on the label — but sadly, I disagree. I wish people would just buy wine because they know a lot about what they are buying, but the truth is that people buy brands they recognize. And Sonoma, like it or not, is a brand that really needs to be sold.

Everyone has heard of Napa, but fewer people worldwide have heard of Sonoma. So if there are millions upon millions more bottles of wine that have the word “Sonoma” on them, how can that possibly be a bad thing?

What do you think?

1 Comment

Posted by on February 19, 2010 in Uncategorized


One response to “Sonoma County – Should it be on your wine label?

  1. Steve

    March 7, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I would argue that placing “Sonoma County” alone would not impact the situation and may in fact confuse people further. However, from the position of those interested in the overall promotion and growth of Sonoma County Wineries and Vineyards it is not a bad idea. In the end though, wine drinkers should have some interest in what they are drinking and have an understanding of the origin of their wine. Really, the argument works mostly for the lesser known regions of the County. What’s next, the street name on the label or latitude and longitude?


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