Fine wine brands: “Chanel vs. H&M”

Some of you may know I’ve been a freelance wine writer online and in print before. I’m not an expert sommelier by any stretch but I love wine so I was fortunate enough to share the novice’s point of view and land some fun gigs tasting, researching and chatting up wine experts.  I often tout that good wine is any wine that you like, whether it costs $10 or $150 a bottle.

Recently, I got the chance to hear an inspirational panel of wine industry women. They were winemakers, owners, executives and even a well-known wine industry TV and radio personality.  Women winemakers are making huge strides in this very male-dominated industry, which is fabulous, considering 60% of wine is bought by women. They are on a mission to introduce more women to the rewards of the wine world – and help women use their palates (which are often better than men’s) to have confidence in choosing gorgeous wines.

As far as experiential, emotional brands go, you can’t really find any better example than the wine world. Wine is about making memories, about upscale casual summer night dinner parties with friends. It’s about great – often uninhibited – conversation. It’s about celebrating the simple pleasures of life.  Often, we’ve experienced some of our most emotional memories over a bottle of wine: an engagement toast, a comforting chat with a sobbing girlfriend, an exciting first date, a cherished holiday dinner.

There’s a quote I adore, attributed to Ben Franklin: “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Amen, brother. Tweet this!

The panel’s moderator, Sharon Harris, is owner and winemaker for Rarecat Wines but also founder of A Woman’s Palate, a place for women who want to connect and empower others through wine.  I loved how she described the difference between regular wines and fine wines.

“It’s like comparing Chanel to H&M.”

This is a great brand analogy. It’s not that H&M doesn’t provide fun, good or trendy clothes. But it’s how the products are crafted that makes the brand difference. Tweet this! Fine wine is crafted with love, carefully-honed knowledge of “terroir,” science and agriculture. It’s perfected to evoke a feeling or a memory and is often overseen personally by the winemaker.

The highlight for me was the discussion about all those crazy taste and aroma descriptions critics dream up for wines: “lingering notes of leather and black cherries, with a hint of tar on the nose.” Sharon’s perspective? “Fine wine is crafted with such love and excellence that it results in a complex yet balanced taste that no one word can accurately describe. It goes beyond words. Yet the memory of it lasts for decades.”

Wouldn’t you love your brand to have such an impact?

Which brands do you feel exemplify quality craftsmanship and feel “made with love?” Please share in the Comments below!

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