The Beautiful World of Wine Labels


Marketers have long since understood consumers’ psychological pull towards beauty; although with wine this beauty was traditionally contained in the bottle and wasn’t necessarily reflected on the bottle.

Gabled farmhouses, family crests and aristocratic designs dominated this sphere, making the act of choosing a wine a difficult, if not intimidating one.

However, with wine from South Africa widely touted as the best it has ever been, it is encouraging to see more and more wine labels are increasingly reflecting this fashionable status with idiosyncratic designs that truly convey the essence of what is in the bottle. Wine labels are now being used as vehicles to drive conversations with consumers, resulting in creative, fun and individual designs.

Vollherbst LABELS, a 98-year-old premium label printer and fourth-generation family business based in Germany with a range of South African wineries as clientele, has for a near-century applied this “conversational” aesthetic to wine marketing. Recently, the company launched the digital brand called LABELinmotion, which applies augmented reality to wine labels, allowing a new wave of beautiful designs to engage wine consumers via animated or real-life interpretations on their mobile devices.

Inspired by this exciting confluence of technology and design, VISI accepted a fun visual challenge: Its editorial team were tasked to select the top ten most engaging wine labels from online wine marketplace,, which could be elevated with augmented reality.

Neil Ellis Insignium

If the Scandi-trend has taught us anything, it is the beauty of simplicity. Neil Ellis taps into this trend with a simple pencil sketch. Like its name implies, it gives this wine label a distinguished edge.

Oldenburg CL Red

It takes confidence in your brand to not have your name displayed on a label. Yet, this is exactly what Oldenburg did. Their label is a concept: <CLis a scientific indication of Banghoek’s cooler temperatures. Printed in white and displayed against an all-black backdrop, this label is both clever and intriguing.

Eikendal Infused by Earth Chardonnay

Like the name on this label implies, this wine reflects its roots. A stunning yet simple cream label reveals so much: it bears a yin and yang impression of embossed vines. A beautiful illustration that hints at the balance of this Chardonnay.

Elgin Ridge The Cabernet Franc

Typography, copper and black elements combine to give this wine label its enigmatic appeal. What is in the bottle, one wonders? Apparently, the. best Cabernet Franc ever made in South Africa.

Alheit La Colline Vineyard

Site and climate play an important role in winemaking and it is little wonder that winemakers pay respect to their wines’ terroir with their labels. Here the design takes on a storytelling element with a pronounced sun rising over detailed vines and mountains.

The Garajeest Jim Semillon

The unconventional and edgy design of this wine label elicits immediate interest. The yellow capsule at the top adds to the playful edge.

Jean Daneel Signature Chenin Blanc

This label has classic appeal. The cursive brand name suggests that this wine was literally signed off by its winemaker. It is striking in its simplicity, and classy in execution.

Dorper Pinotage

Paying homage to the creators’ hometown, Stellenbosch, by showcasing the potential of Pinotage, the Dorper’s label is a detailed lino print of cascading hills, Cape Dutch architecture and a dorper sheep.

Ken Forrester Dirty Little Secret Chenin Blanc

While the name draws you in, the label does not disappoint with its detailed silver vine tendrils set against a black backdrop, topped with a cheeky yellow capsule.

Longridge Clos du Ciel

Meaning “heavenly vineyard”, Clos du Ciel does feel rather angelic in its design. Embossed impressions dance unencumbered by text on a soft pastel backdrop with simply the name of the wine printed underneath.

These beautiful wine labels will be judged by a panel consisting of Steve Smith (VISI Editor), Matthias Vollherbst (CEO of Vollherbst Labels) and Fiona Hilton (Port2Port marketing manager), who will decide which label wins a free augmented reality consultation from LABELinmotion, worth R10 000. The winner will be announced in November 2019. Follow @Labelinmotion and on Facebook and Instagram.