Appearance Matters. And I’m not even talking about clothes.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. This is absolute crap. Two literature technicians at Third Street Books in McMinnville, Oregon told me what I already knew: if you don’t like the cover of a book, you’re going to hate what’s inside. Packaging matters, people. (Make sure to put on your makeup before you go out on a date, if you show up looking like you just got off work, you’ll likely have to pay for your own dinner.)

Wine bottles matter too. When I worked bottling wine a few weeks ago, we had to re-label and re-cap many bottles that made the $45 bottles of wine look cheap. When I’m picking up a bottle of $10 wine at Safeway, I might actually put back an ugly looking bottle and go to the next bottle on the shelf that looked better. These are just the basics of wine bottle appearance. You know what else I think about? Caps. Are they screw top or are they corked? Does the cork have a foil wrapper on top, is it plain, or does it have a wax seal? Screw top or cork is important if you’re on vacation and forgot your corkscrew opener. But now I actually think about the people who put the caps or foil wrappers on top of the wine bottles. I did this for 8.5 hours during my first day of bottling wine. That is a very long time. We got paid very little to do this job, just above minimum wage, but I still took a lot of pride in my work. I wanted the wine to look pretty so that if I made enough money to actually buy a bottle, I would pick one of the ones I had capped, boxed, or labeled.

Recently, I have started to care more about the actual bottles the wine is in. If the bottle is fat, I hate it. I’m not going to buy it. If it is too long and skinny, I also hate it. It’s not going home with me. No, there are perfect sized bottles of wine that fit into the packaging material at my current temp job perfectly. You don’t have to harm your precious hands and fingers getting the wine into the box with those packages. (Both the fat and skinny ones actually make me cringe when I see them coming down the conveyer belt to my packaging line.) It’s best to encourage those mediocre bottles, the ones not trying to be showy with their ghetto booties or French with their tiny waists. As usual, it’s what in the middle that counts.

Interested in learning more about this? Take me to the grocery store to go wine shopping. I can teach you what I know.


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