A Creative Agency Critiques Wine Labels

Posted on: September 6th, 2017 by

Design SketchesI’ve written quite a bit about wine labels, particularly in a (sporadic) “Label Lust” series. My experience as a retail wine buyer definitely comes into play here. When I looked at wines good enough to buy in bulk for display, not only did the label have to be good, but also THE BOX IT CAME IN.

Yes, it had to have an equally pretty cardboard case.

I learned this from Whole Foods. Since they don’t allow outside POS (aka branded decorations and other doodads), stores rely on the boxes and labels to serve as visual sizzle. And when you multiply that great duo times 50 cases (or more), it looks very dramatic, especially in a grocery store.

(Sidebar: The Broadway Market QFC in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, where I worked, was a HUGE space. One time I had a full-size sleigh as part of a wine display. Another time like a 20-foot tall sail jerry-rigged via fishing line to the ceiling. I also recall a Vespa on a stand that almost murdered myself and a few sales reps as we struggled to lift it up on top of some shelving. Ended up looking great. But I made sure to have the day off when it was time to take it down….)

Considering Package Design, Wine Labels, Price and Taste

A bottle I really like for numerous reasons—not just its looks—got noticed by a New York City creative agency, Second Language Design. They wrote a blog post called “Top 6 Wines of Summer 2017 Based on Package Design, Price & Taste.” (<–Please check it out!)

One of their selections is an old favorite, the Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé. Another is a new obsession, the Mille 1000 Pinot Noir Rosé 2016. It has many things I love: it’s a big 1L of wine sealed with a screwcap, costs like 15 bucks, and is extremely easy to drink.

New one-liter rosé, new addidas. New _____? #saturdazed

A post shared by Jameson Fink (@jamesonfink) on

Here’s what the folks at Second Language Design had to say about the look of this bottle:

Blush and gold with fat lettering on a gold bar? Who wouldn’t love this nicely priced, nicely designed bottle of rosé? We like their bold use of a display font.

And they were kind enough to link to my blog post and give me a shout-out. Please read the entire post and let me know what you think of their other choices and the rationale behind them.

What are your favorite wine labels? Drop me a link in the comments.

“Design Sketches” photo by Andrew Turner via Flickr. I mean, it has nothing to do with wine label design (OR DOES IT?), but depicts the raw stages of creativity and has a bunch of cool rulers/tools, etc.

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