Tio Pepe En Rama and perception



What a difference perception makes. However much you think you are being objective, there are always things that you take for granted.

I was EXTREMELY lucky to get a chance to taste the latest edition (for it is not a ‘vintage’ product) of the Tio Pepe En Rama on the Access Zone at the London Wine Trade Fair. I’ve written about this wine before (ANNIVERSARIES, HAIR AND HARE KRISHNA: A STORY ABOUT SHERRY) and I think that this wine was even better, fresher and more intense, so thank you Gonzalez Byass.

One day soon I’ll write more about the wine again, but what struck me the other night was the view of the label.

I took the remnants of the bottle from the stand to a small gathering of wine bloggers that evening (it had been very well received on the stand by all those lucky enough to try it) and I poured some for Miss Vicky Wine. Miss Vicky (aka Anne-Victoire) knows a fair deal about wine, particularly her specialisms … Beaujolais and Rose, but it seems she has rarely had much sherry. She comes from a very different perspective on the conversation.

What surprised me was her comment, “Why did they make the label so modern?

It struck me as very odd as I consider the design to be extremely traditional, with the single colour, the waving flags, the leaf designs, the typeface, etc. Her perception, however, not knowing these “traditional cues” was that it was a very modern, design-led label.

Ultimately it does not matter. This wine will not rely on its label to sell (as it will be on strict allocation), but it does show you that whatever YOU think might be recognisable and well-known may well NOT be to someone else, particularly if you are selling beyond your own cultural group.

It reminds me of the very important lesson I learn every day when talking about wine online:

Wine may be a global product, but its consumption is local!

  • JRo66
    May 24, 2011

    Its fascinating that Miss Vicky Wine thought that the label was modern. The first iteration of Tio Pepe En Rama used the original Tio Pepe label from the 1840’s. This year we had to decide whether to use the same label or make things interesting by using a different design. We decided that, since we have so many beautiful old labels in our archive, to use another label from the mid-19th Century. We have to get the labels redrawn so that a modern printer can successfully print the labels using digital artwork and to describe the product properly but this is infact as close as we can get to the original design.Tio Pepe En Rama is a near as possible to the original drinking experience of pouring the wine straight from the barrel, which is why we use old, dark bottles and original labels, to give the full 19th Century experience.

  • Robert McIntosh
    May 24, 2011

    interesting – I forgot to ask you about the label.to be fair to her it was in a dark bar, but it stood out so much from the norm, I guess it had the same effect as something very modern.I like the story anyway 🙂

  • pawpawapps
    May 24, 2011

    I think you were both correct at the time – old fashioned/retro is the new modern after all.It’s a wonderful design, and the typography looks very contemporary to me (the “XERES.” at the bottom, specifically).It’s great to see so much care going into a label. Label designs give a bottle so much personality and identity I wish more makers put so much care into it.