How To Design an Effective Wine Label

Wine makers have always held differing opinions on whether a label design has the power to influence customer buying decisions. Some argue that wine connoisseurs are far more interested in what’s inside the bottle than the look of its label, while others claim the average consumer is more likely to be drawn to a memorable design.

It would seem then that the role a wine label plays in the purchasing process is directly related to the knowledge level of the customer. Enthusiasts may be able to select a wine based on properties such as body, aroma and finish, but the vast majority of consumers are going to take a far more simplistic approach.

When visiting the local liquor store, buyers will take factors such as wine type, variety and price into consideration, but ultimately, most will base their final decision on the look of the bottle. In fact, a survey conducted in 2016 found 82% of people selected their wine based on the style of label, with most tending to choose the options with decorative designs and brighter colours.

As liquor stores traditionally cram their shelves with as many wine bottles as possible, it pays to have a label design that is going to stand out from the crowd and attract the eyes of buyers. However, the best wine labels are designed to do much more than just capture attention.

Much like how the right wine must be paired with the right dish, every bottle needs a label design that is appropriately aligned with the experience it provides. No matter whether your wine has wide appeal or is more suited to sophisticated palates, its label should communicate a story that will connect with your consumers. For a wine label design to be truly effective, you must take the following factors into account.

Your Story

The wine label design for a century-old vineyard in France will be entirely different to a new, funky winery that has just popped onto the scene in the Napa Valley.

In Perth, there are wineries on rural, semi-residential properties where the family dog will come out to greet visitors, and there are estates with manicured gardens, fine dining rooms and serving staffed dressed in black and white uniforms. The first example could lead to a more rustic bottle label that may even feature the iconic pooch, while the latter will likely have a more clean and elegant design.

Every winery in the world is different, and every vineyard has its own story to tell. Think about your winery, its location and its people. Your wine label should find a way to encapsulate all of these characteristics.

Your Brand

While your story and your brand will no doubt be intertwined, here you need to look at where your wine sits within the market and how it should be perceived.

Do you produce unique or experimental wines that are a little out of the ordinary? Are your wines generally lighter and fruitier, suggesting more of a fun, care-free style? Or do you specialise in award-winning wines with full body and bold flavour?

Identify the themes that flow through all of your wine varieties. It’s important to ensure that your bottle label design accurately reflects the nature of your products. For instance, it will only confuse the market if a serious wine is labelled with a humorous, light-hearted design. The outside of the bottle should match its insides.

Your Audience

 Do your wines have wide appeal, or are they more of an acquired taste? Are your wines more suited to men or women? Will you be catering to a younger or an older, more mature audience? What are the consumption habits of your market? Do they drink wine every night with dinner? Or is it their drink of choice for a celebration?

Examine every aspect of your market – who are they, what are their preferences, what lifestyle do they lead? All of this information needs to be considered in your wine label design.

How To Use Design Elements

Once you have defined your story, your brand and your audience, the stylistic direction for your label should start to make itself known. As wine bottles don’t offer an overly large surface area for labelling, every minor detail can have an impact on the overall design. By carefully balancing the following elements, your bottle label will be able to paint the right picture for your customers.


There is a lot of psychology behind the use of colour. The palette you choose for your label design needs to appeal to your audience while also reflecting the character of your brand and your wine. Brighter, warmer colours could suggest an energetic, summery theme for sweeter wines, while bolder, richer colours could be an indication of the flavours within the bottle.


When it comes to communicating your brand, the style of the text on your label is arguably just as important as the words themselves. Do your wines call for an elegant, elaborate script with cursive letters? Or would a minimalist, sans serif font with clean edges be more appropriate?


From illustrations to graphics and photographs, there are so many different ways to incorporate imagery into your wine label design. You could opt for a vintage style, an abstract design or even a quirky, grungy theme. Once again, it all depends on what is going to do justice to your brand.

Label Finish

To complete your label design, you need to choose the most suitable printing stock and finish. Perhaps a simple, matte label will be best, or maybe your wine calls for more of a high gloss finish. If you have a special edition or particularly valuable wine, you could also look at options such as foiling and embossing to give your label design a prestigious, premium look.

Build Brand Consistency  

When deciding how to use design elements, you need to ensure that you are able to maintain a stylistic theme across all of your wines. You may want to customise your design to suit your sparkling wine versus your port, however, both labels need to have the same general look and feel.

As liquor stores organise their shelves according to wine varieties, it’s highly unlikely that your cabernet sauvignon is going to be located near your chardonnay. With your products scattered throughout the store, you need to ensure that customers will be able to easily identify your brand in each section. The best way to achieve this is by building brand consistency across all of your wine label designs.

Wine Label Printing

It’s a good idea get in contact with your printing company during the early design phase to ensure the final label will produce your desired result. As label printing specialists with more than twenty years’ experience, you can rest assured that your bottle labels will be in safe hands with The Label Factory.

Contact our friendly team of experts in Perth today to discuss your project.

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