Wine Names Get Wild

The Millennial Generation has come of age and stepped up as one of the most dominant consumer groups in the US, and the wine industry has taken note. Not only are young people, women in particular, driving sales, but they are influencing trends in naming and design as well.

Historically, wines have been named for bold declarations of region, grape varietals, and vintage. While higher priced wines still trend toward elaborately printed names that remain loyal to the austere traditions of fine wine (think chateaus and remote country landscapes), more and more wine brands are taking on fun, unusual, or downright quirky names. Among them: Dead Bolt, Smashberry, Earthquake, Mad Housewife, and The Velvet Devil.

It’s safe to say that most young people are relatively novice wine drinkers. They are not buying upscale varieties to add to the cellar, but rather to consume, and, more or less, immediately.

The Velvet Devil, with its edgy black and white label, is one of several in Charles Smith’s latest brand “The Modernist Project.” Its commanding tagline “It’s Just Wine, Drink It” embraces that very notion.

But it’s not all about consumption. With a less traditional, more graphically-focused aesthetic, Millennials are reaching for wines that stand out in a crowd and speak to personality, both in name and appearance.

Whether or not such bold name brands will “age well” in the market is hard to tell. These days, however, there is something exciting about scanning wine shelves: the cheekiness and wordplay, bold labels and colorful designs not only subvert traditional naming practices but offer a refreshing toast to the wild and whimsical.

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