I love wine. I love drinking wine, learning about wine, talking about wine and collecting wine. I love going to wine tastings and sharing bottles with friends. Yep. I love wine. And while we've all heard the tidbit of conventional wisdom that advises against judging a book by its cover, I have a confession: I often judge a bottle by its label. (I know, I know. I can hear all our oenophile readers groaning in horror.) That doesn't mean I'll drink an icky wine, but it does mean I dish out mental marketing bonus points if your label (or copywriting skills) catches my eye.

It was for this precise reason I found myself drawn to an unusual bottle of wine last week. Enter Meeker Vineyard's "Winemaker's Handprint" Merlot, an aptly named wine with a handprint where the label should be. It looks as though someone has dipped their hand in paint and grabbed the bottle - because that's precisely what they have done.

After a little research, I discovered the story behind the curious "label."

"The three winemakers spend 50 days out of the year (or 1/7th of the year) dipping their hands in paint and imprinting them on a total of 16,000 bottles of wine (an approximately paint cost of $40,000 a year!) Each of the three winemakers has their own signature color for the thumbprints.

Why drink to the hand? According to Lucas, the winery had several Merlot “shiners” (bottles without labels) and needed a gimmick to sell the wine because at the time, the winery wasn’t known for Merlot. Painted handprints on the bottle was the answer."

To turn vine into a vintage, I believe you have to be part scientist, part artist and part romantic. Winemakers are a special kind of historian, adept at predicting the future while preserving the present and paying homage to past. If you listen closely, you can hear wine whisper when you uncork the bottle. It can tell you about the season and the sun, and the land where it laid down roots. It can tell you if the soil was rocky or the frost came early that year. If it lingered a few days too long or was plucked a moment too soon.

To me, there is something magical that comes from knowing each bottle of Meeker's merlot passed through the master's hands to my own. A little blessing as the vintner sent a message (and a story) in a bottle on its way. It connects me to the wine and to the people who took it from bunches to bottle. It makes me feel like an integral part of a life cycle from ground to grape to glass.

And from a wall of wine, this simple little something different creates a touch point that connects me to one bottle, one vineyard, one brand.

Last week I read a great description of touch points on Social Media Explorer:

"[Touch points are] a simple concept, really. Increase the number and frequency of high-quality touch points with your customers, and you stand a better chance of being top-of-mind when it’s their time to buy. Touch points are a way of sending “I care” or “Here when you need us” messages to your customers. Done well, touch points can keep customers feeling good about their decision to go with your brand or company. And everyone wants to feel as though they made the best decision, the right choice."

Is your brand making the most of every opportunity to reach out and touch(point) someone? And if not, isn't it time you started?


Want to learn more about touch points? Check out this post.

A bonus read for my fellow wine-lovers: Check out this tongue-in-cheek read about choosing wine by the label