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Poll: Wine Selection Priorities


There are three bottles of quality white wine on a table in front of you.

They are all from the same vintage but different producers, they are all blends (no varieties mentioned) from the same region you are not that familiar with, and they all sell for approximately the same price.

However, …

  • Wine A has an alcoholic content of 12%, a boring label and a natural cork
  • Wine B has an alcoholic content of 13.5%, a boring label and a screwcap closure
  • Wine C has an alcoholic content of 13.5%, a brilliant label and a natural cork

Which do you think you would pick?
… and why?

  • Wine A
  • Wine B
  • Wine C

0 voters


I am going to be contrary here and ask… what is a boring label?

This is important as one person’s boring is another person’s design classic :wink:


I thought going for the screwcap with an unknown quantity the safest bet - so many times I just know how disappointing the wine is going to be as soon as I’ve pulled the cork and can see just how little has been spent on that aspect of the production process. Is screw cap still synonymous with mass production?


I’d take a pinch of salt here…if you buy a new world screw cap i think it’s more ‘normal’ and it doesn’t have a signal about the possible style of wine (guessing fruit loaded, fresh, vibrant etc)


Interesting results so far. I was tempted to close the poll, but maybe some of the new members might want to have a say before I do?

I thought that there might be an attraction to the lower alcohol wine but it seems that most of us admit to being swayed by good packaging / design more than the alcohol or the purported ‘assurance’ of a screwcap.

I know labelling certainly influences my choices when I don’t have much else to go on, too, but equally it can be off-putting if I feel I’m being distracted by branding instead of quality. Hmmm …


My first decider is whether a bottle has a cork or plastic equivalent. I try hard to avoid screw-caps.
The alcohol level doesn’t tell me much but I would tend to a 12.5 to 14 range partly as I drink Rhône, Spain, Portugal or Italy and they often fall into that range. Lower alcohol could mean a year where insufficient sugars developed.
The label design is fairly irrelevant so long as it carries the legal information and perhaps some more detail.

On the subject of screw-caps, I notice that the Rondoletto in the recent 2016 Rhône to drink offer was indicated as having a screw-cap yet the photograph on the front cover shows it having a cork. La Vielle Ferme used to be sold by TWS and a UK supermarket with a screw-cap yet I buy it in Luxembourg with a cork. Do growers and shippers perceive different markets have different preferences?


I went for the screw cap on the basis that at least it is less likely to be faulty. Also fancy labels get me suspicious of the quality of the contents.


Hm! Very interesting, and rather revealing (of my own biases, I should add!)… I am often suspicious of wines with really high ABV; I drink a lot of Alsatian, German and Austrian wines, which are more often than not anything between 10% to 12.5%. If it’s a wine I know and love- I couldn’t care less about the label, and as for cork- I have no problems with it whatsoever. HOWEVER, as soon as you say ‘a wine you don’t know’- my biases come to the fore! It’s really strange. All of a sudden I was thinking “well, a label is part of the aesthetic experience, and cork might indicate a grower than has been around for a while”… and other such nonsense. Perhaps Daniel Kahneman was right, and so many of our purchases have little to do with conscious processes… :thinking:


I’m with you on wines I know. I was just sticking to the challenge re wines I don’t know. It’s interesting about attractive labels. I know someone in the wine trade who is very disparaging about ‘critter’ wines - they normally come from Oz, NZ or South America. You know, Goanna Shiraz or Kanga Rouge, that sort of thing :crazy_face::stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


on the lack of information, I’ll pick the screwap wine as it will be fresher than ones with cork.

As to boring label; Ch Latour?


You mean I can’t just pull Hugh Johnson out of my pocket and ask him?! Curses.

Okay, this is tricky. In a completely unfamiliar region I’d have to use elimination to tease out what might be a benchmark wine.

So I’m gonna tend towards 13.5% here, not because it’s my preference, but the fact that two out of three examples of this unknown region are that strength suggests that it’s more typical, and the 12%er is by an early-picking maverick or something. Fine, but let’s try a regular example first.

I’m fairly agnostic when it comes to screwcaps. I’d raise an eyebrow - as I’m sure we all would - if a bottle of Sociando-Mallet came with a screwcap or if a Cloudy Bay had a cork stopper, but otherwise it’s all good. And again, two out of three wines come with a cork, so it’s clearly nothing unusual in this region.

So I’ve plumped for C, but not necessarily because of the label.

Nevertheless, I’ll be honest: in this kind of situation I’m also going to be drawn (consciously or unconsciously, who knows) towards a brilliant label. Wouldn’t you?


Wine B because of the screw cap: not just because of possible taint, but because (you didn’t say how old) it may have kept better, and also because I prefer to encourage producers to stop using corks, so I am pleased to make a small shift in demand away from cork.
I have no idea what you consider a ‘boring’ label, but the only thing that might put me off would be a fake rural name combined with a non-traditional country (some Hungarian producers do this).


I am afraid I am so vain that I won’t look at any of the 3 parameters & choose solely based on the aesthetics of the name, that is ‘Chateau de St Antuanette’ over ‘Cote du Plonq de Bordelle’ by a long mile, even if the latter had better ‘press reviews’.


“Cote du Plonq de Bordelle” - love it and will keep my eyes open!


I’d request that the sommelier bring me the list and ask for “a bottle of #17 please” :yum: