Wine Talk

Snooth User: crsh1976

Naming convention of wines - a few questions

Posted by crsh1976, Nov 22, 2009.


Let me start off by saying that I'm a complete wine nooblet, but the reason that brought me to Snooth is very much related to wine. I'm currently working on a web project for a state-run wine and spirits wholesaler, and I've reached the point where I'm trying to get my client to change their dreadful habit of shoving product name, producer and year on a single line to make it easier to understand.

Admittedly, the name is determined by the producer (or distributor), however my client has been messy with their database and doesn't make it easy for consumers to differentiate the name of the product from the name of the producer and/or appellation and/or grape variety used and/or any other bit of info - let's just they're trying to jam every info possible in a single field.

Here's a comparison of what they're using now (left), and the proposed modification to clear it up (right):

The reasoning is basically this: I assume the average consumer doesn't know much about wines, and instead of *changing* the name of a product, I propose to simply clarify the information carried in the name by splitting it up in chunks.

First line: Name of the product, along with the appellation (if there's one)
Second line: Name of the producer/vineyard/etc.
Third line: Year (on its own line mainly to allow some space)

Now the actual name of the product seems to vary a lot; for instance, Old World wines typically have their own name, sometimes along with the cépage used and the appellation is put at the end (in the image above though, Aloxe-Corton is an appellation put at the beginning). However, many New World wine names use the cépage as the actual name and little else.

I'd be extremely grateful if you, as wine enthusiasts and experts think this holds up, if it's useful, if this can be relatively easy to apply to pretty much all wines, or if you think this is overkill, doesn't help, etc. Your feedback is highly appreciated.

Many thanks!


Reply by penguinoid, Nov 22, 2009.

Whilst I can certainly understand both columns, I'd say your proposed modification does make the listings clearer and easier to read.

For novices, I'd guess this would be helpful. For people with a bit more wine knowledge, it should help too as it looks like it'd make things easier to read through and find what you're looking for quickly and easily, as it seems just a bit less cluttered. So I'd go with the modified version.

If this is a database, I guess using separate fields would probably mean you could start do some more interesting things with search (search by decade or year, search by region or country, etc). But then I should note, databases and I don't always get on that well (cue nightmares about mysql/postgresql).

The big question, of course, is how much work it will take to tidy up the data...

Reply by TheChicagoWino, Nov 22, 2009.

I like the proposed style very much! The original style is more difficult to read...

Reply by GregT, Nov 24, 2009.

I agree with the sentiment, but the solution is a little tricky.

in one case, the first line is Vinho Regional. In another case, the first line is Le Cigar Volant. The region is listed later. So how would one sort through that? You need to list them more consistently - Egon Muller is a producer, not a region. I'd do the producer first, then the region, or the region first, then the producer, but I wouldn't break them up so arbitrarily.

Reply by dmcker, Nov 24, 2009.

Greg, you beat me to it! ;-) Saw this earlier, and had sentiments exactly like yours, but didn't have time to reply...

So crsh1976, can you separate wine name (whether a unique name created for the wine, a particular vineyard, chateau, bin #, what have), the maker, the region/DOC, and the region all into separate fields/lines? As penguinoid points out that would make your DB much more manipulable, and also any particular wine's description easier to decipher by novice or veteran alike, as per your original concern....

Reply by WineForNewbies2, Nov 25, 2009.

I concur--the proposed change will be a lot more helpful to customers as well as employees.

Reply by penguinoid, Nov 26, 2009.

Somehow I didn't think of it last time, but (as noted by others) a separate field for region/DOC would be a good idea. Where this is the same as the wine name, this may seem a little redundant but even then it's still worth it.

Reply by GregT, Nov 27, 2009.

IN addition to what the others have said above, I'm looking at this again and I think there is another problem.

Germany is 357,021 sq km, or 137,847 sq miles. California is 411,048 sq km, or 158,706 sq miles.

So California is to Germany as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer is to ?

Napa? Sonoma? Santa Barbara?

If you have a customer who isn't particularly knowledgeable, and the customer is interested in Germany, would he or she know to look in the Mosel? I think you need five categories in any order. Country, region, producer, wine, year.

You can tell your client that although it may be slightly more complicated for them initially, it will be FAR easier to search their database if they break things up. If I were a customer of theirs and I was interested in finding a wine from Portugal, I'd simply give up if I had to look thru their listing the way you've illustrated it. It seems no better than random listing of product. Your sentiments are exactly correct but you don't go far enough. Since you say you're not in the wine business yourself, I can tell you as someone who is that their current listing is just bewildering.

Your client is a wholesaler so you can explain that as they've probably already learned over the years, their customers have particular interests and also biases. If they are in an Italian area and want Italian wines, how would they begin to search for those? And if they're heavy on Tuscany and want something from another region, how would they find it? If they want a couple of wines from CA, how would they go about selecting? Big difference between Bonny Doon Big House Red and Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red.

If your client has a monopoly in the state, that figures. They can do as bad a job as they want and nobody can complain. If they are in a competitive state, they are crippling their sales.

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