When you’re in a rush to buy a bottle of wine at the supermarket and you want to try something new, what do you base your decision on? Price? Where the wine was made? Or what the label looks like? If you’re like me, you take all three into consideration, but the wine with the best label is often the wine that gets purchased. As a designer, I’m a sucker for a good label, and I confess that my penchant for a cute or interesting bottle has sent me home with a vino dud every now and again. Still, there’s something magical about a great wine label. Here are some of my favorites.
This is one of the wines on the list I’ve actually had the privilege of drinking, and it’s great. What drew me to the brand (after their great social media campaigns) was its sense of aesthetics. The label speaks of a patchwork quilt or a teenager’s collage, overlaid with words carefully cut from a magazine. It gives off a calculated ‘randomness’ that’s pleasing to the eye—it’s quirky and fun, but not actually random. It’s very well put together. This label lets you know that this is the perfect wine for a casual Saturday afternoon. Oh—and it was a perfectly sweet little bottle, too.
I’ve seen Dada’s wines pop up on a few blogs before, but I never thought I’d get to see a bottle in person—much try one! The wine itself was really potent and acidic, sort of a mutated Sauvignon Blanc, but label is what I remember the most. The mannequin hand holds out one finger to represent the ‘1’ (Dada also has a ‘2’), and it’s rendered with halftone dots that make it look like it came out of some strange version of the past. The gold logo, the white label and the antique-future hand are all laid out with perfect precision. This is a great looking bottle, and its stark-but-creative logo is a good gatekeeper for what lies inside.
Though it’s somewhat like the Totally Random bottle in its patchwork design, Boxhead’s Shiraz bottle adds some artiness to the mix. The logo itself is inventive, but still quite readable. It’s joined by squares in an assortment of colors that are lovely, muted and tasteful. Each of these squares contains a simple-but-energetic image—my two favorites are, of course, the winemaker’s signature ‘Boxhead’ mascot. I only had a taste of the wine at a friend’s house (I had to drive soon after), but I remember it being a great little Shiraz.
I’ve never tried this wine. I’m not sure where it was available or how good it was—after all, it’s in an aluminum bottle (there might be glass underneath the aluminum, I’m not sure!) and it doesn’t have a cork. My research tells me that it was the product of a UK based design firm, but I’ve loved this bottle ever since I saw it in a blog post several years ago. It’s always stuck with me. The silhouettes of the elk and the deer themselves look marvelous, and there’s a ton of room for interpretation in the scene. The industrial aluminum backdrop makes for a striking pair with the black, and the logo is downright gorgeous. Not many designers make an ampersand speak volumes, but SocialUK did just that.
This is another one I’ve never tried, and it certainly looks expensive—I doubt we’d find this at the grocery store as an impulse buy! There’s just something to be said for such a simple, elegant design. Most wine bottles are far too busy or obsessed with cute animals to adopt this kind of perfection-via-simplicity. The two-tiered white crown looks amazing against the darkness of the wine bottle, and there would be no mistaking Naked King Wine for anything else. It’s also sort of a concept-wine it seems, telling the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes through design. I’m in love with this bottle and think it would look amazing on any wine rack.
Next time you’re at the supermarket or your local wine shop, take an extra look at the bottles and the labels—how much do they influence you? Also, I’d love to see your favorite wine bottle designs in the comments!About the author Alice Jenkins is a graphic designer, writer and blogger. When she’s not obsessing over vintage t-shirts, she enjoys blogging about all aspects of design. Alice particularly loves writing about current trends in pop and alternative-culture fashion. She’s also an online shopping addict who’s not quite ready for the recovery process. Alice writes for the custom apparel vendor You Design It.