Designing a Wine Bottle Label

I finally designed a label for the wine we are making at Tin Lizzie Wineworks. I’ll use the same label with modifications for the wine I’m making at home and at Vint Hill Craft Winery. Making the label is easier said than done. Because I have to deal with TTB regs at Vint Hill, I decided to go with a name. I chose Illuminatus, Latin for “giving light to or revealing”. Illuminatus should not be associated with the antagonists of a Dan Brown novel; Illuminati is a different word. I chose Illuminatus because making wine revealed the process of winemaking.

It took several months to come up with a word I liked. Other decisions for a label had to be made. It was decided to go with a simple label. The word “Illuminatus” would appear in the center in a ruby color. Above would be the vintage and below the grapes varieties in the wine. Two lines would separate the three areas. Since the wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, I wanted to use a traditional French font. I looked at Garamond, Didot and Caslon. Kathy like the Didot font the best. For the line color, it was decided to go with a gold color. Searching the Internet, I found the CMYK values for six different gold colors. I tried them all and selected one. After printing the label, I tried it on a wine bottle. Simple, traditional and eye catching are some words that come to mind.

I can use the same label design for the Cabernet-Tannat blend I’m making at home. The Cab at Vint Hill though will be a bit more challenging since that label needs TTB approval. My understanding is that I cannot use a vintage or a varietal name on the label. I’ll have to work on this.

For the back label, Tin Lizzie Wineworks is not putting one on. So I wrote a few sentences and the percentages of grapes in the wine. I can put those on by hand, the same with the wine at home. At Vint Hill the back label needs the TTB statement. I write up something and see if it will work. Working the label in Photoshop was the easy part. Making decisions was the harder part that took days.

3 comments to Designing a Wine Bottle Label

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Terry Sullivan, Mellie Rose. Mellie Rose said: It would b awesome 2get hired 2design wine labels! –> RT @winetrailtravel Designing a #wine bottle label #winemaking […]

  • Nice start. Creating a label that will pass for TTB approval isn’t that hard, just needs some attention to the details, some of which appear below.

    The lable indicates you are doing a blend. If either component is less than 25% you don’t need to show it on the label. Also, the AVA is not shown (which you can do if the wine conforms). Otherwise, you can call it “American” or just leave it blank.

    Not sure how much wine you are making in Maryland – maybe you are below the federal labeling criteria – but for your production at Vint Hill Craft Winery we will have to show the alcohol pecentage, bottle size and the government warning labels, etc. Also, if you are wanting to show an AVA that is either non-Virginia or not a contiguous state to Virginia, the wine must be labeled as “for sale in Virginia, only” to keep it legally acceptable in labeling.

    Your wine is evolving nicely in your barrel. And you are right – labeling is the sometimes the hard part. Cheers.

    Vint Hill Craft Winery

  • Nice design for your first attempt. Over the years, we have noticed that simple label designs on wine bottles are the most effective. Hopefully you’ve had success.

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