Stay “on brand” while selling highly profitable niche wines using “second labels”

A winery might opt to have one or more “second labels”.  A second label is generally quite different from your primary brand. You may want to make it obvious that they came from the same winery, or opt to be so different that no one knows the wine came from your establishment.. 

11 reasons wineries do second labels

– To differentiate their fruit wines from their grape wines. Especially on the east coast, wineries have extremely popular fruit wines. The audience for these wines is quite different from those who buy their traditional wines. As such, the packaging is created to speak to those audiences individually. 

Putting both types of wine under the same label would be a mistake. You wouldn’t want a traditional wine drinker to sip your cherry wine and make the assumption that your wines are not to their liking. 

– Wines they’re going into distribution. Wine that have to share shelf space with hundreds of competing wines need more shelf presence (be more eye-catching) than those that are hand-sold out of a tasting room. You simply cannot afford to be invisible in this environment.

– Private label wines for large retailers and restaurants. When a consumer can buy a bottle of wine in your tasting room for $30, it rankles when they see it on the wine list of their favorite restaurant for $120. Why not create a second label—one that’s not available in the tasting room—for these establishments. This eliminates the internal gripe of the customer. They know your quality and expect that the one one the menu is worth every penny.

– A wine that doesn’t quite measure up. We know. It happens. It’s a darn fine wine, but it’s just not up to your usual standards. You just can’t bring yourself to put it out there under your existing label. But you can create a fun second label—one where buyers do not have a pre-conceived expectations.

– Exquisite wines. You’re brand is known for reasonably priced quality wines and has been for years. And then it happens—you acquire the finest vineyard in the valley. Your new fruit is absolutely stunning; the wines, magnificent. You simply cannot put it in your existing line up and get what it’s worth. We recommend creating a luxury second label or a luxury tier (see blog post “Cheers to Tiers”).

– The outlier. You acquired some fruit that is somehow unique. Maybe it was frozen before harvest. Maybe it has smoke taint. Maybe it’s highly coveted. Whatever the case, it’s the outlier and does not conform to customer expectations. This is a great time to use a second label.

– Charitable giving wines. You have a favorite charity you want to help fund. Why not create a second label that attracts those who care about the same things you do AND raise money for a great cause?

– A decadent “house wine” —available ONLY in the tasting room— is an excellent way to get people to return again and again.

– Wine Club exclusive. This is one of our favorite reasons to create a second label! There’s no better way to create loyal wine club members than to send them wines that others cannot get. 

Bottle up your finest, label it in such a way that the member knows that they have “insider” status, and sell it for top dollar! Speak to their secret need for status.

– Special events our friends at Willamette Valley Vineyards did this one incredibly well when we experienced a total eclipse of the sun a couple of years ago. They are located where the eclipse experience would be at its best, so they held a special “watch party” that included a bottle of ECLIPSE wine and case specials. What opportunities lie in your path?

– Holidays Hits. Enormous amounts of wine are sold around the OND holidays but also around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. 

What can you do to be the wine of choice for those occasions? It might be special gift packaging or a super fun meme-inspired label.

– Opportunity knocks. You have a beautiful opportunity to sell your product in a new market. However, your current label doesn’t resonate in this culture. We will research the culture and create a second label that speaks to your newfound audience!