Next time you crack open a bottle of plonk take another look at the custom wine labels.You’ll have probably read it the first time around when you considering which choice you were going to make with many wine labels take a blanket, functional approach to give the drinker information on what the contents are, which grape, appellation controllee or equivalent but if you look a little more carefully, you’ll see some real gems.

Wine itself has been around for over 4,000 years with the Ancient Greeks enjoying a bottle over geometry or calculus, wine jars have also been found in the tombs of the ancient pharaohs from as far back as 3,500 years but just as interestingly, these jars also had wine labels on them.

1879711512_e6ddcaae3aFamous Wine Labels

The modern wine label came into being with a monk, Perignon who in the 1700’s, hand wrote his monastery’s famous wine labels onto parchment and this was then tied around the neck of the bottle.The manufacturer of glass took off at this time and much more varied shapes, colors and sizes were possible with improvement in glass-making techniques and this, coupled with vastly increased trading opportunities increased the consumption and variety of wine.There was a desperate need to tell the customer what they were about to drink.

Even back in the 1700 and 1800’s, marketing was necessary to sell your products and wine was no exception and while the bottle remained fairly standardized a great deal of flair was exercised in the design of the wine label.Older more established vineyards opted for a simpler style with less flowery design – after all they had a name and brand which by then had been around for a few hundred years; more recent labels had to do something to make up for the lack of history and this is where wine label design started to come into its own.

Here’s a good modern example with Baron Rothschild, the youngest offive brothers who opted to avoid working in the family bank – instead he bought a vineyard in France and started Mouton Rothschild which today is a relatively famous wine and brand.Reading the label will give the impression he has been around for a few hundred years replete as it is with the Baron’s coat of arms and crest – actually, his vineyard is based on someone else’s and he developed the brand to give an ‘old’ established feel using the wine label; in fact, his vineyard and brand have been around for about 40 years.