Another brand of wine, another bicycle label

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If it's true that one is an accident, two is a trend, and three is a movement, then the appearance of bicycles on wine bottle labels has become a movement as far as I'm concerned.

I wrote about the bicycle-themed labels on two wines yesterday — Cycles Gladiator and Red Bicyclette. Then DT from the Fat Boy Deluxe Weblog left a comment about a third, Hill of Content.

I'm always impressed by the breadth of experience of people who contact me. DT, for instance, not only had tasted Red Bicyclette and Hill of Content, but offered a short critique: Red Bicyclette – not impressive. Hill of Content Shiraz and Grenache-Shiraz – excellent.

Hill of Content hails from South Australia. It's label features a man bicycling away along a path. Easy-going. Says the vintner at the Australian Premium Wine website:

“Hill of Content was born out of my desire to create interesting Region specific wines at a price that allows for “liberal” consumption. The name translates as “Hill of Happiness”, referring to a state of mind rather than geographic place.”

Here's some more information about Hill of Content current releases and press reviews, although the website seems a little out of date.

How far can movement go?

Googling around, I'd say the Hill of Content is the oldest label of the three; I found a reference to a bottling in 2000. Red Bicyclette was created by E.&J. Gallo in 2003, and Cycles Gladiator is newer still.

It's ironic that I stumbled across this “movement” about bicycle wine labels when I did. The ACNielsen marketing pollster just issued a study two weeks that wine labels with critters have a positive impact on sales.

Of 438 new table wine brands released in the past three years, 18% had an animal on the label. Nielsen chalked it up to copycats of Yellow Tail's kangaroo label. Says Nielsen's Danny Brager:

“While placing a critter on a label doesn't guarantee success, it is important that wine makers realize that there is a segment of consumers who don't want to have to take wine too seriously. Not only are they willing to have fun with wine, they may just feel 'good' about an animal label presentation.”

OK, but times might be changing. Swish this around on your palate for a moment: In creating the Cycles Gladiator brand, Hahn Estates sold its Rex Goliath brand, which featured a drawing of a 47-pound rooster on its label. It was depicted in a turn-of-the-century poster from a Texas circus.

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