Best Wine Labels of All Time
As Specialist Wine Label Designers we are always excited to see the innovations and trends in the Wine label industry, but also interesting to see how our wine label designs are stacking up.
The standard of Wine Labels continues to grow from year to year and long gone are the days when wine labels were simply used to identify the variety, vintage and locality. Today’s industry is highly competitive and with over 70% of purchasing decisions made in store, the importance of wine labels to create a point of difference has never been fiercer. The wine label industry is big business and it is drawing in some of the worlds greatest artistic talents and designers. Acknowledging the rise of Wine Label Design the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art recently showcased some of the best designs which are unquestionably works of art.
The below list will continue to grow and evolve as we discover more great labels and great labels continue to be created. I hope you enjoy!
Lastly, we have sought to select a diverse range of wine label designs from high-end simplicity, to vibrant colourful and fun to everything in between. Accompanying each design are some notes as to why we consider them notable and some possible lessons to be taken from their success. We apologise for including quite a few of our own designs, but as many of these have won national and international label awards, they should not be out of place.
Motif-Wines, Designer: En Garde, Rein – Germany
The Motif Wine Label Designs are difficult to ignore. They are vibrant, colourful, bold and beautiful. Whilst each design is busy in textile, they are simultaneously remarkably minimalistic with no information on the wine on the front. I believe it is this uncompromising emphasis on the textile patterns which take up the maximum possible height of the wine bottles which makes these designs so brilliant. Despite the branding not being on the front labels – it is actually given great prominence as the only readable information seen on the capsules. These designs through their bold statement are unquestionably unique and has helped to put the Motif Wine Brand on the map. This concept is essentially inexhaustible as more textile patterns and colours can be created for new varieties and vintages.
Adevine Wines, Hunter Valley NSW – Australia, Designer: Co-Partnership – Sydney & London
What is most remarkable about the Andevine Wine Label is it’s execution. The detail, which appears to be oil painted is beautiful both in it’s composition, colouring and the quality of details. The fruits and flowers look alive, juicy and enticing. This label speaks of quality, craftsmanship and seems to pay homage to the Dutch Masters when still life paintings were at their height. The black background also creates a sense of minimalism and drama as the focus goes entirely the extraordinary artwork. The Artwork is given even greater prominence through the modest diecut at the top and bottom giving the artwork the impression of being in the foreground while also linking it more directly to the wine.
L’enologa [the winemaker], Mildura VIC Australia, Designer: Beetle Creative – Melbourne & Florence
L’enologa, female for Winemaker is a small batch winery with Italian inspired wines. The labels, where flavour is king depicts miniature worlds where the female winemaker goes about her magic, overlooking the vineyards, collecting the grapes and pressing the grapes. The fruits were watercolour paintings. If you’d like to discover more about these labels please click here.
Pandora’s Amphora, Ducks in a Row, Heathcote VIC Australia, Designer: Jeremy DV Boyd – Adelaide
The Pandora’s Amphora labels eeks quality in every detail. The icing on the cake is the custom ribbon which adds a unique and high quality signature touch. The cream stock and soft browns create a very soft, feminine, elegant impression. It achieves a classical impression by having a logo centric composition, which gives it a premium, minimalist feel, yet it incorporates a great deal of detail which is given a soft tone.
Lalaland Wines, Mildura VIC Australia, Designer: Beetle Creative – Melbourne & Florence
This Alice in Wonderland, Spanish inspired label utilises a wide wrap-around composition to fit a great deal of artwork to successfully tell the story of the Mad Hatter and his band ‘the La La Lands’ playing for the Queen. The Band includes five members; El Loco (Mad Hatter on Vocals), the March Hare on Banjo, the White Rabbit on Trumpet, the Dormouse on Piano Accordion and the Frog Doorman on Drums. The label includes a poem telling the story and integrates all legalities as part of a unified artwork. The colours are fun and vibrant – a perfect wine for summer. Oddly enough, this is one of three Lalaland labels, the two others having won Australia’s top wine award, gold at the FPLMA awards, but this is still our favourite. To discover more and see the other award winning Lalaland labels click here.
Merum Estate, Pemberton WA Australia, Designer: Manifesto Design – Perth
Pemberton is a beautiful forrested area in the South of Western Australia, so a heavily nature based label paradise is certainly no stretch. The Merum Estate Wine Labels have beautiful illustrations of Western Australian Flora and Fauna in a terrific and balanced composition. The cleverness of the collections composition is furthered by the fact that the Merum branding aligns for all wine labels switching to the bottom of the label for the Bordeaux bottles and the top of the label for the Burgundy bottles. The black ink on the textured cream stock creates an elegant label emphasising craftsmanship and quality.
Sugrue Pierre, Designer: Stranger & Stranger, London & NYC
There are various strategies for creating a premium wine label, the two most common strategies are to either opt for a minimalist, refined composition or a design with elaborate detail. What I like most about the Sugrue Pierre design is that it utilises both of these strategies. It is minimalist in the sense that it utilises just black and gold, with a centrally placed logo as the champion, while by Brut standards it has a very modest, clean cut neck. Yet the label is engulfed by intricate detail that is given just a gloss varnish high build do seperate it from its background. The result is that the wine label design achieves all of the premium cues associated with intricate detail but does so in a modest, understated, confident sense. By being understated, it does not call out for attention and this self-assuredness, that suggests ‘take me or not, I’m happy either way’ makes it ever more appealing.
Gippsland Wine Company, Gippsland VIC Australia, Designer: Damian McGrath – Melbourne
One of my favourite labels, as all elements work in a very unified complimentary manner, highlighting the great attention to detail. The Labels utilise beautiful botanical illustrations that match the bottle, logo, vintage and capsules. The composition is quite unique with the content running vertically, allowing for a balanced label with the logo given great prominence through its central location. The logo suggests history, while the elegant label suggests premium, both aspects that help this small winery punch above its weight. I suspect that the illustrations are old botanical artworks no longer subject to copyright, but beyond that full marks to the designer.
Matsu Wein, Toro, Spain, Designer: Moruba – Logroño, Spain
Continuing our streak of adages, they say a picture says a thousand words and that’s certainly the case for these striking labels. A minimalist front label with only the brand name and an image and yet they speak volumes about the brand. No doubt, these labels work best as a collection, paying homage to generational farming, youth vs tradition, a life’s work, authenticity, family, heritage etc etc. The impact no doubt would have been greatly reduced had the designer added a frame or text, the minimalism creates a boldness and a sense of in your face that makes the design quite powerful.
Brown Brothers, Milawa VIC Australia, Designer: Beetle Creative – Melbourne & Florence
When first approached to create this label, I was fortunate in that I had very recently spent 3 weeks travelling around Spain, so the summer, energy, colour, music, fun and flavours were still fresh on my lips. An aspect I admire most about the Spanish people is their priority for having fun, with celebrations, parties and fiesta’s often lasting many weeks. Artistically, Spain is home to many great masters and more recently the great modern artists such as Picasso, Dali and Miro as well as the fluid and colourful architecture of Antoni Gaudi. This label takes inspiration largely from Barcelona, one of my favourite cities, where Gaudi and Miro’s legacies are most prominent. In this label I wanted to capture some of the cities energy, the beaches, the nightlife, tapas bars, the fluid art and the groundbreaking architecture. Spain in Summer is hot, even by Australian standards, I wanted to capture this heat in a fluid feel good summer tone, so many of the elements merge together into a single melting pot. The label had to be bold and the Spanish Red and Gold were obvious choices, with black and white helping to give it some extra punch. The central focus of the label is the donkey, the emblem of Barcelona and Catalonia. I have no intentions for this label to be seen through political eyes, this label intends to fun, Donkeys just happen to be one of my favourite animals and the world already has enough wine labels with Bulls, so the Donkey became the perfect focus. In the name of fun, we also coined ‘Hermannos Marrones,’ Spanish for Brown Brothers, which features prominently around the back of the label and on the Shipper Carton. This label, although somewhat stand alone in it’s design, belongs within the Brown Brothers 18 Eighty Nine Collection. The wrap around, typography and red sweep all pay homeage to the existing collection, whilst evidently not failing to push the boundaries.
Wiston Estate, Designer: Stranger and Stranger – London & NYC
Champagne’s often have a premium label with quality cues such as foils and embossing. Another popular strategy is to opt for a colour as a point of reference and to gain strong shelf presence, whilst having a fashionable edge. In the Winston Estate label the designer opted for a refreshing blue. Another famous example of this strategy is Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut with it’s vibrant orange/yellow. The embossed white elements of the Winston label allude to plastered details, the circle creates an elegant diecut with Winston as the clear primary hierarchy.
Paperboy Concept, Designer: Stranger & Stranger – London & NYC
In an attempt to reduce the environmental footprint of wine bottles, a recent innovation is paper wine bottles, which utilise a thin plastic lining. A major environmental advantage of the Paper Wine Bottles is that they way a fraction of their glass equivalents. Although Paper Wine Bottles are unlikely to take the industry by storm, these paperboy designs have cleverly utilised the marketing opportunity and to great effect. The Paper Wine Bottles have a vintage, natural, earthy look and Paperboy have capitalised and emphasised these attributes to great effect.
Pepperjack, Barossa, Designer: MASH – Adelaide & Melbourne
The Pepperjack label is an old favourite. It’s a relatively simple design but it’s composition, with the main label applied on an angle and the logo icon centred above creates a beautiful balance between standout, quality, craftsmanship and being unique. The angled label utilises many traditional quality cues such as the winemakers signature and a soft yellow stock that suggest craftsmanship. The angled label wraps seductively around the bottles curves with a small image to the left of the label of wine barrels adding some warmth while building on the sense of craftsmanship. The logo icon being its own label and positioned high and centrally on the bottle gains great prominence. This design is suggestive of tradition and the past but through its unique composition is also fresh and new.
Penfolds SA Australia, Designer: Various firms with design evolving subtly over time. Denomination Design many today.
Say what you like about Penfolds labels (I’ve heard many designers criticise them) but one things sure; if a design can last the test of time – it tends to be a good design. Few labels have lasted the test of time longer then the Penfolds labels, at least not in the new world of wine. Fairly traditional and conservative in its composition, the labels are brought to life with the striking red logo and capsules and flowing logo which gives it a friendliness. The labels have a clear hierarchy that provides the logo with the forefront. This has helped to establish extremely strong brand recognition and this unwavering commitment to these label designs helps to convey a consistency and quality that their loyal followers have come to expect. Young designers might be screaming for a change, but falling back on the old adage ‘why fix something if it isn’t broken?’ I can’t see the labels changing anytime soon and I hope one day, one of my designs continues in perpetuity.
Piquentum, Brazda, Designer: Studio Sonda- Croatia
This shrink wrap sleeve design demands shelf-presence, whilst still being quite elegant. The newspaper background offers the opportunity to add extra information about the wine, while creating an instantly recognisable look and textile quality. The label information which runs in a conventional portrait manner perpendicular to the background text gives it it’s clear hierarchy. The design is entirely black and white which helps to give it an elegant look while the subtle sweep up the neck gives it a designers flourish.
Atlas Wines, The Spaniard, Clare Valley, Designer: Rodeo – Adelaide, Australia
The Spaniard label design also has strong shelf-presence but achieves this through it’s bold design, rich colour scheme, textile patterns and strong gold typography. The colours and patterns capture some of Spain’s energy while the colour scheme departs from the more common red, yellows and blacks of Spanish inspired labels giving it an instant and contemporary point of difference. The colours all work well together and the patterns made by the shadow merge effortlessly into the rest of the design creating beautiful attention to detail.
d’Arenberg, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Designer: Voice Design – Adelaide
A simple, effective and elegant solution to telling what could be a complex story – an old bloke with 3 young blonds. It’s remarkable how much a silhouette can say and by laying the label layers one above the other, a detailed story emerges in what is still a fairly minimalist solution (no colours, not righting, no drawing etc). d’Arenberg is one of Australia’s oldest and most respected brands with their iconic red sash typically seen across their labels. In this design d’Arenberg’s iconic colour scheme remains and the iconic red sash on the outer wrap but absent on the main label within which I think comes as a surprise and heightens this wine as something particularly special.
Flor Marche, Western Australia, Designer: Beetle Creative – Melbourne & Florence
This label came second place in the international TLMI label awards. This label which depicts a Ficifolia Flower was designed with both an Australian and Chinese market it mind and creates a striking balance using colours lucky in Chinese culture such as Reds and Golds while the flower is unmistakably Australian. The Ficifolia flower has become somewhat of an icon for the Flor Marche brand with this illustration featured on every back label under an invisible QR code. The red captures a sense of passion, while the dark tones create a serious tone, balanced by the gold which brings the label to life with some strong premium cues. To discover more about the Flor Marche label and to see other labels from the collection click here.
Athena, Virginia USA, Designer: John Jewell Design – Melbourne
Rose’s can be one of the more difficult bottles to design for but when a designer gets it right it can also have the biggest impact. This is because of the striking background colour, which limits the colour pallet that might work to colours such as whites, reds, golds, blacks or an opposite colour such as turquoise. Screen-printing can often be a great strategy as it shows off the wines colouring. Utilising a rose, whilst not a new concept for Rose’s, in this case has been beautifully executed. This great photograph and the accompanying box, no doubt help to elevates the design in our estimations, but even still the attention to detail and sense of quality oozes from this design.
The Argonaut – Eight Arms Cellars, California USA,
An old favourite. Screen printing offers the enormous advantage of allowing a 360 degree canvas. A favourite aspect of this design is the tentacles showing through from behind. Octupus’ have such an unusual, mysterious, legendary quality and this label beautifully captures that. The design has a well balanced composition and utilises only one ink colour to create a really interesting and unique label. For such a small batch winery, this label must have become a collectors item.
Mateo & Bernabe, Designer: Moruba – Logroño, Spain
There’s quite a lot to like about this design. The bold red numbers and unique capsules certainly help to give the design high impact, while the neck tag and illustrations help create quality touches and the impression of attention to detail. The labels, while busy in that the artwork and numbers fill the label remain quite minimalist, just two colours, an illustration, number and name. I assume the illustrations are gestures towards the wines food pairing, while the significance of the numbers is not so readily apparent. The consistency of the labels and theme across the varieties and the consistent bottle shape create a beautiful and memorable collection.
Rosemount Estate, McLaren Vale, Designer: MASH – Adelaide & Melbourne
Textiles can be highly effective in creating a premium look and this design is certainly no exception. The art deco patterning is somewhat reminiscent of the Great Gatsby with all the glamour of the 1920s while still unmistakably modern. The textile pattern remains consistent across the collection, while the Bordeaux bottle sees the pattern shift 90 degrees to be portrait in orientation. The geometric pattern draws the viewers eyes to the centre where the logo’s icon sits and this effect is most effective on the burgundy bottle designs where the patterns all converge to the centre. These designs are both beautiful on their own or as a collection as the unique colours for each variety are unique and complementary adding another point of interest.
Ramian, Napa Valley CA USA, Designer: Icon Design Group – California
One of the truly minimalist designs. As they often say ‘less is more’ and in this case, the ultra-minimalist design is certainly what gives it such a strong point of difference. Wine bottles are in themselves quite beautiful and in this design the bottle is allowed to remain in its full glory framing the modest logo icon. What the design lacks in information on the front is compensated by having much of the information on the neck label. Whilst I’m not entirely sure, I presume there is also a back label, which unless it is a limited edition, small batch run is likely to be required for all of the legalities and the barcode etc.
Express Winemakers, Denmark W.A Australia, Designer: Beetle Creative – Melbourne & Florence
This Vibrant Wine Label Collection for small batch wine producer Express Winemakers expresses the youthfulness, craftsmanship and creativity of the wine brand. Utilising detailed illustrations, paint and mixed media this creative wine label collection helped to put the new wine brand on the map. The kraft paper helps create a sense of craftsmanship while the unique illustrations each tell a story. Each label has one dominant colour that works with the kraft paper and each bottle having a unique colour helps to create a beautiful and vibrant collection.
Vin Sec Carre Wine, Designer: Design Depot – Russia
These Vin Sec Carre Wine Label Designs are taking minimalism to a new level, but one cannot question the beauty of the simplicity. Wine Bottles are beautiful in their own right so minimalist designs such as this often exaggerate this natural beauty.
Saint Mont Winery, Occitanie, France, Designer: Lasuite Atelier – Bordeaux, France
When it comes to creating a premium design there are a few different avenues. The most popular is to allude to the past with chateaux’s or crests, with foils and embellishments. Another strategy is to utilise minimalism, for a more modern approach. The power of a minimalist design is that it is strikingly understated. To be so understated assumes an air of confidence, that almost borders on arrogance. But one is left to wonder, if so little must be said, how good must the wine be? By having so little all that remains is elevated, it’s significance grows, so in most cases the brand is heightened. If it is just the brand, one is left to think, well perhaps that is all that needs to be known, the brand must be trustworthy, it must have a reputation for the highest quality. Like the Ramian design the information appears to be engraved adding a quality and deeply embedded detail, suggesting something timeless and reliable, while the neck label provides the weight of the information.
Flight, Oregon WA USA, Designer: Beetle Creative – Melbourne & Florence
This 360 degree screenprinted Artwork depict one of mankinds greatest achievements – the study of flight and pays homage to mankinds historical obsession with flight, from Galileo to Da Vinci to the Wright Brothers. The designs composition is laid out like a blueprint – creating a scientific documentation of flight. The design utilised only one colour and although filled with information, maintains a premium sense by utilising the bottle as a canvas and depicting a historical and interesting field in a beautiful manner. Click here to discover more of the Flight Wine Label Design.
Beetle Creative are Specialist Wine Label Designers forging a reputation for highly artistic original wine labels. Don’t hesitate to contact us to see what we can do for you. To view more of our work click here.