A wine label should communicate your brand, your uniqueness and increase the perceived value of your wine. A wine label is your biggest piece of advertising and the first contact most people will have with your wine. Is your label communicating who you are?
Yes, your wine is delicious and others often tell you so. But who are you really targeting and how do you get those people to buy your wine? How do you tell consumers that are standing in the wine aisle “pick me!” First, you must decide who is your target market and what will they be buying your wine for? Do you want your wine bought for immediate consumption, aged with collectors, given as a gift to a boss, or as a present for a girlfriend’s house-warming?
Here are a few of the main categories of wine labels:
1. The Traditional/conservative wine label designs:
These wine labels often have a pen and ink drawing of a chateau or a small town, paired with a serif or old style font. This style communicates we are classic, well-known, prestigious and often a sense of nostalgia. If you were going to look into a collector’s wine cellar, you would most likely see many wine labels that follow the below pattern:
Take for instance the wine label we designed for Thousand Oaks Winery, located in Patton, Missouri. We combined a serif font with a high school photo of the winery owner’s wife. The owner wanted to give tribute to the summer they met and Theresa’s Indian heritage.
2. Type focused wine labels
Type focused wine labels can help communicate a lot of information. Words that describe these type of wine labels are often: cultured, creative, aesthetic, refined, and elegant. Below, the label for Warehouse Winery, in many respects, the plethora of information on the label resembles multi-faceted history of “Renaissance man” winemaker and winery owner Billy Smith. During his career, Smith has been a sculptor, photographer, potter, an industrial real estate developer and property manager. Now his urban winery has won over 20 wine awards in three years. For a full review of this wine label, read the article “Warehouse Label stocked with Treasure” I wrote for Midwest Wine Press.
3. Wine label design with a sense of humor
Let’s face it, many winery owners are hilarious to be around. A wine label can be a perfect place to translate that humor, like the below Oliver Winery’s Bean Blossom Hard Cider shows. The bottles were drawn by illustrator Kevin Pope and are part of an entire series.
4. Artist Series Wine Label designs
Another type of wine label design is having an artist series for your winery. This shows the public that you support local artists and many times can turn into collector additions. Elk Creek Winery in Kentucky did an entire spin off series featuring marine artist Carey Chen. How does marine translate to Kentucky? The owner is also an avid sport fisherman. This label also appeals to the demographic looking forward to vacation snorkeling, diving and fishing. To read my review on the Riesling label, visit Midwest Wine Press for the article I wrote “Elk Creek Winery hooks Marine artist for Labels.”
5. Elegant wine label design
Elegant wine label designs will normally have a rich color palette and have minimal design, another words lots of white space. These labels describe your winery as classical, beautiful, delicate, fancy, graceful, majestic, refined, and stylish. Elegant wine labels can also be alluring, ornate and peaceful. I really like how the below design positions the ornateness of the letter vs. the clean lines of the tree and type.
These are just a few niches of wine label design. If you are considering a wine label re-design, remember these four things: Keep it simple, differentiate from your immediate competitors, tell your brand story and have consistent branding. When you don’t have the luxury of personally selling a bottle of your wine, your wine label needs to convince that undecided shopper to “buy me!” What does your label say about your wine & winery?