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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 December 2005, 13:53 GMT
Label 'influences' wine purchases
Wine bottles
Labels remain important to many wine buyers
UK drinkers increasingly see themselves as wine connoisseurs - but many people still select a bottle because of its label design, research suggests.

Nearly half of the drinkers surveyed said they preferred to buy wine with a clear, modern label that listed basic information such as grape variety.

According to research for Chilean brand Yali, labels still cause confusion, with 52% saying they had been "misled".

Experian spoke to 1,500 drinkers across the UK between 14 and 20 December.

Nearly a third of those surveyed said they would be more adventurous with wine if they fully understood the labels, while 26.8% felt bottles contain too much user-unfriendly information.

Wine labels also benefit from being simple to avoid pretension and knowledge assumption
Tim Hill

"To engage consumers, it is vital that labelling conveys the personality of the brand and tells a clear but intriguing story," said Tim Hill, from branding experts, Futurebrand.

"It is about giving consumers a reason to select one bottle over another.

"In today's market place wine labels also benefit from being simple to avoid pretension and knowledge assumption; again this should be directed by the brand's personality and tone of voice."

Data from Mintel suggests wine sales in the UK rose by 23% between 1999 and 2004.

The trend has seen French wines losing out to "New World" varieties from Australia, South Africa, South America and the US.

But the French have recently overturned centuries of tradition by allowing makers to label wine by grape and not region alone if they want.

The top chateaux, however, are continuing to use the Appellation d'Origine Controlee labelling system - a guarantee the wine has come from a specific geographical location.

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