Many argue that designing wine labels is one of the most important parts of making a great wine. It may sound ridiculous, after all, it’s the contents that really matter but lets face it, how many of us have stood facing a shelf of wines, and chose the one to buy based on the label?
So, why, why does what it look like matter so much, when at the end of the day we will be drinking the wine and we want to enjoy what we drink surely? Life is too short for rubbish wine!
Starting with the basics, the wine label has some important content that will help you pick the right bottle for you – from the grapes, flavours, producer and sustainability information. On most new-world wines, you’ll find the grape type (e.g. Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec etc), and this will be particularly useful in picking a wine you’ll like. On the old-world front, it might be a little trickier, but the back of the label can be a source of great information.
The Wines Story
Wine labels aren’t just names on a bottle. We expect more from the companies we buy from nowadays and that means their stories matter. If the winemakers story resonates with us, in the basket that bottle will go.
Making someone laugh is a great way to make friends, and the same can be said for wine. Humorous labels can make a wine more fun to pick up and buy. Examples of some of these labels may include this range from Neleman, this cheeky chap and his Pinot Noir or if you are a dog lover…
You! The person who is buying the wine
When we see a great label, we aren’t thinking about the wine in the bottle, we’re thinking about our personal aesthetic. Our own perception of what looks interesting, attractive, and intriguing determines if we pick a bottle up, and that perception is something deeply personal. It’s governed by where and when we grew up, what we like to watch, listen to, and do. It’s about who we are.
We subconsciously ask ourselves “Does this wine look like something I would enjoy?” and if the answer is yes, and the price is right, in the basket it goes.
Is the wine for an occassion?
The way we pick a label also depends on the occasion it is for.
If it’s an everyday bottle of wine, then something that is well priced and looks ‘fun’ works well. This is when personal aesthetic says “this looks cool and like me”.
If we’re off to dinner or trying to impress, we have to get a little wow-factor about the whole thing. This is when we consider traditional vs. modern, and familiarity. Traditional wine labels are generally quite boring. We want a ‘posh’ bottle, when we are looking to impress.
A traditional bottle over £10 is a likely dinner winner, but what of the modern look? Well, it’s certainly more difficult to pick something that looks cool but is also reliably impressive. We also use touch – does the label feel premium? This can be a secret way to tell if something is worth taking home.
So, how to choose your bottle?
A great label does not necessarily make for a great wine! And a great wine may not have a great label – great is different to us all. So how do you know what to look for?
🍷 If you like something classic, a traditional label with a price point over £15 is a good starting point.
🍷 If you like modern labels, find something with a little texture. It’s a way for winemakers to show their attention to detail. We love this label for example!
🍷 Find out about the wine, and the story. It’s the substance behind a design that says a lot more about the winemaker than the pretty picture.
🍷 You’ll find a lot of good-looking bottles under £10. Often this can be a wine that looks better than it is, so don’t get drawn in by bright colours.
🍷 Find a source you can trust (you can ask us!). The wine in the bottle always matters most, so find someone who will listen to what you like and don’t like and who can be trusted to tell you what’s great regardless of the label.