When I meet one-on-one with winery owners, one of the first things I ask is: tell me your story. How did they get into the wine business? Lifelong dream or did they fall into it? What is your unique story that no one else can tell? How are you different from other wineries? From this story we craft a plan to communicate their core message to their target audience on a wine label design and their other online and printed collateral.

I often share the below wine label logic before starting the wine label design process. Neil Tully, who has been creating European wine labels for 18 years, says a wine label will be successful if it works on three levels (and I totally agree!)

1. From a distance ­ when you see the label across the aisle, you are drawn to the label. This is the level where it becomes essential to know what other wineries you’ll be placed by. Go to local stores where your wine is sold and do research.

2. At arm’s length ­ The wine label should be clear, simple and have a hierarchy of info.

3. At home ­ while drinking the wine, you should notice another dimension you didn’t see at first. For example, a unique pairing idea or a little about their history or vineyard. Something that makes readers get out their smartphones or laptops to learn more.

Let’s take the below wine label I created for Nelson Hill. Since their target is a “Wine Enthusiast” we focused on creating a classic design to target these high end California wine consumers. I chose a textured paper to help give it the feel of expensive stationary.







Here is how this wine label works on three levels. One, the classic wine label with a red icon will catch your attention across the aisle or room. Two, once you pick up the wine bottle, you’ll focus on finding out what the icon is – an old French wine barrel scale. This icon helps symbolize their love of the old world wine making techniques of the French. Your eye will also register the type of wine and it is located in Mendocino County, California. The third level, once you have the bottle at home, you can read a story about what makes Nelson Hill unique, plus find them online.

Does your wine label work on these three levels?