The Best Wine Collections of All Time
A successful wine collection will have wine label designs which complement each others, which when viewed together grow richer. There are many different strategies and techniques to create a successful wine label collection. In this article we investigate some of the best label collections and make notes as to what can be learnt for future collections.
L’enologa [the winemaker], Mildura VIC Australia, Designer: Beetle Creative
L’enologa is Italian for Female Winemaker. This collection maintains a constant theme, the winemakers journey through the world of flavour. In the first, she inspects her vineyards, in the second she walks to pick her grapes and in the third she crushes the grapes ready to make the wine. The collection maintains a consistent composition but the artwork shifts, both in the fruit it depicts and the subsequent colouring. Whilst each label is colourful and vibrant, as a collection the labels become even more so. The artwork colouring yellow, red and purple are also complimentary colours.
Certainly the most famous wine collection in Australia, Penfolds offers numerous lessons, particularly about the advantages of consistency that has helped establish strong brand recognition. There are certain elements that are essentially unwavering such as the vibrant red capsules, the red logo, the cream, vintage paper stock, a traditional, balanced composition and word heavy front label, often accompanied by signatures or dates. Whilst many designers will disregard Penfolds as stale or boring, the success of the brand and collection must force us to question our constant desire for something new. The wine community at large can be quite conservative and although it has become considerably more adventurous, to many, wine is a maze of unknowns. When inexperienced, or fearing judgement by those who know more, people will often turn to safer options, well known brands, brands they know will be reliable. The unchanging Penfold’s labels suggest consistency, quality and experience and for many this will bring confidence and certainty in a world of too much choice.
Based in Pemberton W.A, an area of forest Oasis, the nature based artworks became and obvious inspiration. Whilst the illustrations are beautiful in their own right, the clever use of composition is what really elevates this collection to the next level. The four labels are made from one artwork, that in it’s uncropped form would create something resembling a circle. This artwork has been cropped in quarters and these quarters dictate the artworks positioning on the label. What’s quite clever is that the logo remains in a consistent position, not on the labels, but on the bottle. With the logo and artworks set in position the varietal and vintage information shifts to balance the piece. The labels are grayscale with a light cream paperstock, which creates a premium look and feel, while the consistent black capsules further tie the collection into a unified bunch.
This striking collection, although each label is quite different in it’s textile artworks, creates consistency through the bottle shapes and colouring, the label sizing, minimalist nature (no logo, text), vibrant colour schemes and matching capsules. The lack of information heightens the prominence of the textiles as well as the importance of the capsules. The information is no doubt on the back label, but these labels are to be appreciated as artworks with the capsules creating strong brand recognition.
In the year 2000, the Yellow Tail labels were cutting edge, taking the world by storm and they’ve held on considerably well considering how out there the design originally was. Whilst many labels from that generation are now terribly dated, this label has stood the test of time, indicative of good design. The Yellow Tail labels today have only shifted marginally from this original vision, testament to the labels success. If anything, the label has actually become a victim of it’s own success as it sparked a whole generation of what has been criticised as ‘critter’ labels, most of which were less successful.
Wine labels were traditionally very conservative. The New World of wine, such as America and Australia, having the disadvantage of less history, shifted this to be an advantage, using marketing and creativity to break through the tradition and snobbery. This Yellow Tail Collection perfectly encapsulated Australia in the year 2000, the indigenous past, the beautiful nature and the optimism for the future, while the world was caught up in the Sydney Olympics. The label utilised bold colours, yellows and oranges on the strong black background with the yellow and black alternating depending on whether a red or white wine. The Collection was actually quite consistent with just the colours alternating.
The Yalumba Y-Series was perhaps the great Australian collection that followed Yellow Tail. The collection maintains a consistent composition with the logo at the top, artwork towards the bottom right, varietal and content to the left. Like the Yellow Tail collection the logo colouring shifts depending on whether a Red or white wine, in this case the black backing for the Red wines and a white backing for the white wines, as do the capsules. The artworks are black illustrations with a burst of one dominant colour. The labels utilise a consistent paperstock which has a beautiful texture helping to convey a sense of quality. Embellishments such as spot varnish dimples further enhance the sense of quality.
The Y-Series has remains a staple for Yalumba, testament to it’s huge popularity and success.
Flor Marche, Designer: Beetle Creative – Melbourne & Florence
Unlike many of the other collections that have sought some degree of consistency, each of the Flor Marche labels are drastically different. The reason for this is that each labels is dedicated to a different family member or friend of the winemaker. Each label tells its own story, with the only consistency being the logo, its sizing, the fonts used and similar back labels that all have an invisible QR code printed over a Ficifolia illustration. The labels are all colourful and have their own designated colour.