The final finesse on a bottle of wine is the art of the wine label. The identifying marker... peaking personal amusement for the eccentric winemaker, inviting proliferation for a designer or artist, providing the conversation piece in a basement cellar... the label tells the story of the wine.
This page is dedicated to the winemakers that not only lend their heart and soul to the juice in the bottle, but also to those responsible for the design on the bottle. After all, for the consumer and collector... presentation is (almost) everything. Label requirements have become very strict and vary greatly by region, but it is universally believed that the beauty of the label reflects the divinity of the wine inside.
A Brief History of Wine Labels
Although wine is believed to have originated in ancient Greece, it was the ancient Egyptians who first recorded label details that are still required by law today; including vintage, growing region or vineyard, and winemaker. This can be dated back to 1352 BC when buried with Egypt’s King Tut, were jars of wine with detailed etchings. These bottles were unearthed in 1922 by archeologist Howard Carter.
Some early label designs were simply small identifying pieces of parchment tied with string around the neck. Later identifiers included carvings in the base of a pewter stand describing the region of the wine. In the 18th century, depictions of life were described with imagery, much like history’s great paintings. This brings us to our first study, the infamous Chateau Mouton Rothschild. (Label Above Designed by Pablo Picasso in 1973)