How is online wine shopping similar to online dating?



Shopping for wine online today is not unlike swiping for romance through a dating app. Overwhelmed by options, we base most of our decisions on appearance and a few lines of questionable tasting notes.

I plead guilty for buying with my eyes, and gravitate towards e-commerce sites that are run by people who understand the importance of high-resolution bottle shots, engaging product descriptions, a great user interface, and consider them almost as crucial as choosing the right moment to harvest.

This habit had led me to believe that in order to build great product pages, we must treat them like dating profiles and pay attention to the details that will help us secure the highest number of matches in the least amount of time possible.

1. Set A Thirst Trap

The power of strong visuals 

We can’t help but heavily rely on visual cues before we put anything near our mouths – an irrefutable truth that applies to both online wine shopping and romantic relationships.

Research has found that 82% of wine drinkers choose their wines purely based on the appearance of the front labels. Similarly, when it comes to dating apps, a recent research finds people are motivated to swipe right based primarily on the attractiveness of a potential partner. This is a decision that is often made within a millisecond. No surprise here, really.

There is however one thing to bear in mind. When the bottle shot is thrown on a website, its wine label is reduced to about 30% of the original size, rendering it less effective online than on a store level… unless you decide to zoom closer.

For this reason, the best thirst traps tend to come in different angles and in a resolution high enough to observe the label’s texture when fully zoomed in. While you’re at it, throw in a lifestyle shot for good measure!


Radford Dale 'THIRST' Collection

Radford Dale’s literal thirst trap.


Just because we cannot hold a physical product in the world of e-comm, does not mean the product should look any less realistic.

2. Don’t Shut Your Front Label

What’s your ASL?

What do crossfitters, Harvard graduates, and certified biodynamic wines have in common? They will make sure you know they are, within seconds of landing on their page. How? Simply by placing the important information right under the photos, so potential matches can see it without even scrolling down.

Age, sex, and location are the first things a potential date would ask about, followed by your occupation. In a similar fashion, the front label of a wine would prioritize important information like the winery’s name, vintage, and appellation.

In the absence of a physical bottle, one would need to squint in order to get these information out of a label. Well, this is probably why online retailers tend to put this information immediately next to the product shots.

What about wines from a single vineyard or a special designation? Of course it would be helpful to show it off the same way people would put their PhD and LLB designations on their dating profiles, business cards, and email signatures. This is particularly helpful when your cover image lacks sex appeal.

3. I Think You’re Special, What’s Behind Your Back Label?

The dating profile synopsis

Just like the bottom half of a dating profile, a back label contains ‘tasting notes’ and a brief origin story. On an e-comm site, the same information comes in the form of product description to help people imagine what it is like to drink the wine.

However, I do wish marketers can be truthful about what they advertise to avoid disappointment. No marketer should ever claim a wine is complex and boast a long finish, when they know it will deliver a premature drop in flavour, leaving the consumer unsatisfied.


funny back label

Some times, we may come across a back label so bad that it is so good.

4. The Big Spender Romance

Would spending more money warrant an unforgettable night?

Sitting in front of you is a stunning bottle with a gorgeous label.

It even has a watermark!

The wine has an irresistible vintage, a clever origin story and a whiff of wit. The catch? It has the price tag of a Chambertin. Is it worth it?

Facing a premium item, some people might choose to do more digging, such as referencing its social media profiles, or reading up the ratings from its other ex-drinkers, often to find conflicting reviews; we have different palates after all.

Every bit of information – videos, accolades, expert reviews, press mentions – will help convince people that the wine is worth their money. Well, why not make it easy for your potential matches to find them?

5. Meeting IRL (in real life…)

From first dates to growing old together…

After picking the handsomest bottle you can afford with the promise of a great personality, it is time to taste.

Is the wine delivering what the tasting note suggests? Did you find yourself slightly disappointed, but convinced yourself that the wine is ‘totally crushable’ and decide to have a nice time anyway?

When the sun shines into the living room the next day, there is a chance for you to realize that the encounter was utterly meaningless, but you are happy to stay friends with the wine anyway. Or maybe it dazzled your brains out and made your come back for more. Your heart even skipped a beat when this new-found love showed up in a newsletter.

Even if you are about to give up on ever meeting “the one” through an online wine shop, let’s not forget about the lesson learned from dating in real life: one must not lose hope!

Always believe that the next bottle to enter your life will be special. When it happens, the sky will open and birds will chirp under a double rainbow, signalling that you have finally discovered another case of wine that is worthy of many hedonistic nights and worthy of sharing mortgages with, ready to stand the test of time.