Mining Wine Labels Online

LabelVision accesses a wealth of valuable data

by Jane Firstenfeld
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LabelVision provides searchable information and photos of every alcoholic beverage label approved by TTB since 2000.
 Boulder, Colo.—Earlier this month ShipCompliant, the Boulder-based company known for its direct-to-consumer compliance tools for wineries, released a new product. LabelVision provides searchable information and photos of every alcoholic beverage label approved by the federal government since 2000.


Wines & Vines took an extended test drive in LabelVision and found too much information to digest in a single sitting. For example, since 2000 the Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has approved 1,103,623 wine labels for U.S. sales from all over the world. If nothing else, this is evidence that the worldwide wine industry is a complex category. By contrast, spirits labels numbered 92,478; malt beverages 104,439.

Researchers can easily refine the data, drilling down by year(s), months or days. Figures from the past year show a similar pattern: wine labels, 94,116; spirits, 9,247, and malt beverages, 14,810. Identifying trends is one useful aspect of LabelVision.

Refining search results is not limited to dates. Choose a category (wine) and then select your target: brands, company, fanciful names, origin, varietals, appellations or class types. Each category provides numbers and then shows all the labels within it.

Since even a single year will probably yield hundreds of labels in any given category, searchers can also get more specific. For instance, although the notorious and once wildly popular critter brands have supposedly dwindled in recent years, contenders continue to apply.

In the past year 17 brands featured verbiage or imagery related in some way to the word “duck.”

Who will use it?
Tom Wark, who issued the invitation for the test drive, has been handling ShipCompliant’s media relations for the past four years. A longtime, vocal proponent of the DTC movement, he analyzes and writes compliance material for the company.

Since LabelVision just launched, he could not provide figures about early adopters. Wark said the major market would most likely be attorneys charged with protecting brands and trademarks. “The litigious can do all the research and get ahead of the curve to protect their clients,” he said.

Because all the labels are shown online, Wark believes that packaging designers are another likely subscriber category. They can search similar names to see what the competition has done—either to draw inspiration or to identify clichés. Because the labels are reproduced, they can also pinpoint changes in label and bottle printing.

Trend trackers of every ilk can see what’s happening, in almost real time. How has Moscato grown in recent years? What happened with Pinot Noir and Merlot post-“Sideways?”

Addictive as a game
As endless as the Internet itself, for data geeks, LabelVision can be as addictive as a favorite online game. But it comes at a cost.

According to Wark, the list price is $700 per month. For a yet-to-be-determined period though, early bird pricing of $500 per month is available. And current ShipCompliant clients can add the service at the special early bird price of $300 per month.

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