What’s in a wine label?
Le Vigne Winery recently released new packaging with our 2019 Rosé of Sangiovese (more on that in a bit) and it got us thinking about the history of wine labels and packaging which we thought we would share for your enjoyment.
The evolution of the wine label has come a long way from the early Egyptian days to the modern, creative and sometimes outright strange designs seen today. As early as 1352BC, evidence exists from Egypt’s King Tut burial site (unearthed in 1922 by archeologist Howard Carter) indicating that the ancient Egyptians actually put great detail into their wine labelling, including details of the vintage, the growing region or vineyard and in some cases, the name of the wine-maker.
In Europe, early label artwork were simply small identifying pieces of parchment paper that were tied with string around the necks of bottles. Label making was rudimentary and generally designed on a stone until circa 1798 when lithography was invented and wine labels were finally printed in mass quantities.
Over time, wine-makers gained more pride and notability in the quality of their wines, and the drive to create the perfect label began. Wine labels were seen as important for recognition, and elaborate designs, descriptions, wine-maker notes and color were infused into the final product.
The past 40 years have seen the greatest change in wine packaging. Market research in the early 1980’s showed consumers wanted casual but bold artwork. Wineries started working to create interest and demand with a growing younger market by utilizing new and unique bottle shapes, creative descriptive naming for different products and bold wine label designs that they felt were a good representation of their brand.
Research with New World consumers, and increasingly European consumers, showed that Old World labels, with terms such as Chateaux on them, were not perceived well by younger wine drinkers and were considered old fashioned (I don’t know about you but call us old fashioned as we would happily accept a bottle of Chateaux Haut-Brion or similar….lol).
A trend that did not last long was one of the more unusual designs to come to the forefront in the past 30 years: scratch and sniff labels. It is almost hard to believe that there was a moment in time when several wineries in the Vouvray region of France thought this to be an effective way of marketing to consumers.
Fast-forward to today and wine labels are an important source of information for consumers because they tell more than just the type and origin of the wine. The label is often the main resource a buyer has for evaluating certain aspects of the wine before purchasing it. Certain information is ordinarily included on the wine label, such as the country of origin, quality, type of wine, alcoholic degree, producer, bottler, or importer. In addition to these national labeling requirements, producers may include their web site address and a QR code with vintage-specific information. The wine label is a complex and incredibly important part of any producers marketing efforts.
Being a small, family-owned winery, Le Vigne has generally kept our labelling and naming in the family…. quite literally. Our Kiara Bella label is named after Walter and Sylvia’s daughter, Kiara, and our flagship blend Nikiara is taken from Kiara and her brother Domenic’s names. Our Heritage Series wines feature a picture of Walter’s papa, Domenico, and our Appellation and Vineyard Series wines feature an image of Walter’s grandfather Vincenzo as he brought grapes in from the fields in Italy. These labels represent our family, our heritage and our legacy – something we are incredibly proud to share with you.
In early 2020, we made the decision to refresh our packaging on our Appellation Series wines, starting with the 2019 Rosé of Sangiovese, as seen in the attached picture. The label is a nod to a more contemporary design that retains our rich family roots and history yet simplifies and elevates the appearance.
In the coming months, we look forward to sharing additional varietal wines in the Appellation Series with you. Each bottle will feature unique packaging whilst sharing a familiar feeling as with the 2019 Rosé.
Saluti – Walter & Sylvia Filippini
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