Wine Bottle & Wine Box Label Design & Application Ideas


Here are some ideas, examples, and resources for wine bottle and wine box label designs and applications.

During the COVID-19 shutdowns, there have been vast differences in how small businesses are affected. For businesses in the wine industry, things can look very different depending on which sector is served.

While consumption at home is reportedly strong, driving online sales, at the same time bars, taprooms, and wine tasting rooms, and other establishments have been shut down in most states. Nationwide, the restaurant industry is severely crippled by these mandated closures.

As a small winery or wine supplier, you may or may not be in a position to benefit as consumers turn to subscription-based wine clubs and online stores. Many of you are struggling with operational issues as well, keeping personnel safe while responding to changed and canceled orders, and possibly counting on small business relief checks to survive.

We understand and wish we could do more to help, but what we can do is provide some inspiration and information that will benefit you when business inevitably comes roaring back, propelled by pent-up demand.

Here are some ideas, examples, and resources for wine bottle and wine box label designs, including tips on selecting the right labels and the right equipment.

Label Design Inspiration

While alternative containers have gained ground for years, the 750-milliliter glass wine bottle is still king of the jungle. Although we will focus on those, there are fundamental design principles that apply to any wine packaging, from that old college favorite — the wine box — to newer single-serving containers such as plastic bottles and aluminum cans.


The primary goal, of course, is to stand out in the crowded visual field of your competitors. Fortunately, visual inspiration is only as far away as the internet, with sites such as 30 Eye-Catching Wine Label Designs and How to Design a Wine Label: The Ultimate Guide providing a mind-expanding range of designs to review.

A survey of 2,000 wine drinkers on cited in a previous post (6 Best Practices for Labeling Wine Bottles), clearly indicates label appearance as the most important factor when shopping for wine bottles by appearance, followed by price, wine region, and bottle shape. Your design must be different, but there are many ways to achieve that, e.g., humorously, or by displaying earthy simplicity, or by wowing the eye with unexpected graphics.

While money spent on professional label design is likely to pay off in higher sales, you'll need to begin by doing some research on — yourself. The direction you choose should flow from what feels genuine in conveying your brand identity to the consumer.  

Tell Your Story

Before embarking on label design, you have to know your brand then reduce that to a sentence or two that tells your story. That might feel a bit like, say, engraving 78 capital letters on the head of a pin, but although wine labels have precious little real estate, the best ones use words and graphics to amazing effect. Reaching your audience is truly an art, so study how other winemakers have accomplished that.

In the process, refine your understanding of your audience. Are you providing wine to adventurous buyers looking for something unique and new? Perhaps you will connect with those responding to an earthy, crafty feel. Or, if there are many decades of tradition behind your wine brand, you'll want to emphasize history in your design.

Once you have your story down, connecting with the right buyers will be a rewarding exercise in genuine communication.

Get a Pulse on the Trends

Another thing you should keep in mind as you focus on your labels is the hot trends. To successfully reach consumers in a constantly-changing marketplace, you'll want to put your ear to the ground. Knowing what's popular right now can help you figure out how to look fresh to all of those consumers who shop for wine by eye.

For example, the trend toward more knowledgeable and open-minded wine drinkers, as mentioned in The Unexpected Wine Trends for 2020, is a driving force behind the importance of telling your story on your label.

(Photo Credit: Usual Wine & Lila Wine)

Another important trend is an influx of women winemakers. If you're part of that group, your gender could become part of the mini-story on your label.

During your research, look outside the wine industry for overarching trends, such as the public's proven willingness to pay a premium for organic farming practices. Finally, keep an eye out for trends caused by societal upheaval from the coronavirus pandemic, something that is touching every walk of life in countless ways. 

Design That Label

Now that you’ve interviewed yourself, developed a clearer picture of your customer, and studied current marketing trends, let's look at some decisions you need to make, including color, typography, and style/imagery.

First of all, what color bottle will you be labeling? Reds traditionally come in dark green bottles, while whites come in clear or pale green, and of course, you want a label that works with the bottle. White labels with strong colors really pop on dark bottles, for example. White or sparkling wines in clear or pale green bottles typically receive gentler hues, such as light greens and blues, perhaps with a touch of silver or gold.

Next, what imagery and typography will be used to convey your story? Font design is a whole topic in itself; suffice it to say that fonts can convey history and authenticity or provide a hip and modern look, and those are merely two examples of many.

For style and imagery, you can go elegant, classic, modern, or minimalist. Work with your label designer to consider what materials you might use to stand out, such as flashes of foil, textures, specialty die cuts? Or will a simpler label convey your brand? 

Applying Labels Efficiently

The best-designed label doesn't look so good if it's crooked or peeling off.  The quality, consistency, and efficiency provided by automated labeling machines answers those problems and provides the capacity to meet future demand. Here are three examples of machines to consider.

The ELF-50 tabletop labeler is a great entry-level option for small batches of product. Stepping up, consider a fully automatic in-line labeler for round containers such as our PL-501 or PL-501-NL. At the top of the line, the PRO-515 labeling machine can handle larger and differently-shaped bottles.

It's important to select a partner who can guide you to the right solutions for your wine bottling and wine labeling operation. Pack Leader USA is committed to providing information to help wine bottlers through our blog, newsletters, free downloads such as our Wine Industry Guide to Evaluating Labeling Equipment, and by reviewing your needs personally when you contact us.

When you're ready, ask for a free consultation with our labeling experts to investigate your needs and get the ball rolling.

Download the Wine Industry’s Guide to Labeling Equipment