Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Do Capsules on Wine Bottles Impress You?

I had not really given much thought to wine bottle capsules until I read the feature article in the March issue of Wines&Vines magazine on capsules. "Capsules in Transition" gets down to the nuts and bolts and its importance in the marketing scheme. Wine Business Monthly does a capsule survey every two years. The last one was in 2006, so we are due for one this year. It will be interesting to see the change in trends when the survey is released. As pointed out in the Wines&Vines article the cost factor will have a determining influence.
All the wine press has focussed its attention on the pros and cons of cork versus screw-caps and it seems capsular comments have been few. Screw-caps had long been considered by many wine drinkers as closures for inexpensive or inferior wines. That is certainly not the case today. A press release in February 2007 boldly announced that Boisset would be launching both a Grand Cru and a Premier Crus under screw-cap.

But capsules? I just have not been paying too much attention. OK, a funky label might get my attention when I am shopping for wine. But I have never turned away from a wine because of its capsule or for that matter bought one because the capsule gave a "buy me" message. I have to admit that lead capsules always appealed to me. They seemed somehow to denote and give a certain grandeur to a bottle of wine. So I went and paid a visit to my humble little wine cellar to see just what kind of capsules I have been collecting. Ah, there is one with a lead capsule! It turned out to be a 1976 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou. Not a great vintage but a good one. It needs to be consumed now! Had I ignored this noble wine because of a secret admiration for lead capsules? Fond dreams and memories of great wines are part of the charm of drinking wine. Changes in capsule styles should never interfere with those special moments in the presence of a gift as great as a good bottle of wine. Sure would like to receive some capsular comments on this topic.


Robert McIntosh said...

Interesting question. I doubt anyone buys a wine on the strength of the capsule design alone.

However, as someone who has been involved in wine label design, I can tell you that it does make a subconscious difference to the buyer's perception of the overall quality of the packaging.

You can design a beautiful label, but the bottle seems incomplete unless the capsule 'fits' into the overall design.

Ideally the colours, and maybe a feature of the label, might appear in the capsule, tying the two together.

A simple, one-colour capsule can look very dull and cheap.

Next time you really like the look of a bottle & label, check whether the capsule has a similar theme. You might be surprised how much of a difference it makes.

Wilf G.K said...

Robert, thank you very much for your comment and you are right of course. As you say it has to 'fit" into the overall package design.Its kind of like wearing running shoes with a nice suit.It screams at you.We may not necessarily buy a wine because of a fancy capsule but if it looks out of place with the rest of the package, it might just make us stop and wonder about the wine.

MonkuWino said...

I like the heavy lead capsules just because it makes a bottle seem more expensive than those cheap little thin things you peel off. But I think the real purpose of a capsule is to hide the fill level on a wine, haha.

Wilf G.K said...

Monkuwino, I am with you on that. But its like Robert said in his comment, the capsule can make a subconscious difference in the buyer's perception.
Cheap packaging is probably telling you the wine is not so good. Love the story you are telling on your blog. I am waiting with anticipation for the next chapter.
Greetings from Victoria

Taster B said...

Capsules impress me when they are noticeably impressive. I'm partial to a nice cobalt blue with a matte finish.

mad philosopher said...

I like capsules that let me see the bottom of the cork, so I can tell if the cork is compromised or not.