Wine Design Awards: The Results

In the April edition of the magazine Drinks International published the results of its inaugural Wine Design Awards, Christian Davis reports. 

The packaging, and specifically the labelling, of wine is crucial to a brand’s success. Catch a consumer’s eye and it is on the way to being bought and tasted. Three packaging industry experts met at the headquarters of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust to recognise the importance of great packaging by rewarding the best of the best in wine packaging design.

The wine fixture in virtually all supermarkets, specialist off-licences and travel retail stores comprises a forest of bottles. The packaging of wine is very staid and predictable – a 75cl bottle, usually Bordeaux or Burgundy-shaped, with a front and back label. What’s in the bottle maybe brilliant but if a consumer never picks up the bottle and buys it, he or she will never know. So how do you get them to pick it up in the first place? Eye-catching packaging is essential to gain trial.

A label has both a basic and a legal function. It should clearly tell the consumer what is in the bottle – that could include the grape variety or varieties, where it comes from, the vintage and the alcohol level. Once the bottle – assuming it is a bottle – is picked up, the back label should tell the story of the wine and possibly what sort of food it could go with.

Sounds easy. The trouble is virtually every supplier does the same.

Supreme Champion & Best New Design of a Wine Brand: Pepperjack

Treasury Wine Estate’s Pepperjack Australian brand, designed by The Collective, won not only the Best New Design award but was also regarded as the overall champion by the independent expert judges.

They liked the elegant, slightly quirky design but most importantly it told a prospective buyer exactly what they were getting – a full-bodied Shiraz from McLaren Vale in Australia that goes great with steak.

Highly Commended: Beefsteak Club                 

Ehrmanns Wines

The judges liked Beefsteak for the same reason as Pepperjack. It told prospective buyers what it is and what it best goes with.

Best Repackaging of an Individual Wine Product: Brazilian Soul Chardonnay                 

Vinicola Aurora/Cooperativa Vinicola Auroa

Brazilian Soul is Aurora’s brand for the international market. The judges particularly liked the Chardonnay’s label.

Highly Commended: Tomich

Tomich Wines/The Collective

A simple design with a description down the side of the front label. Classy and understated.

Best Repackaging of a Wine Range: Brazilian Soul                 

Vinicola Aurora/Cooperativa Vinicola Auroa

Highly Commended: Rapitalà Le Selezioni

Gruppo Italiano Vini

The judges particularly liked the Alto Nero d’Avola and Nadir executions.

Best Copywriting for a Wine Label

Highly Commended: Four in Hand 

Robert Oatley Vineyards

The judges praised Four in Hand for the same reasons they liked Pepperjack and Beefsteak Club – all big bold Australian wines and deemed worthy of a highly commended accolade.

Best Alternative Wine Packaging Design & Best Carbon Footprint Packaging Initiative: Paperboy

Stranger & Stranger for Truett Hurst

The judges immediately recognised the distinctive style of Stranger & Stranger. Basically a collapsible bag inside a papier maché mould. Innovative.

Best Design for a Wine Range: Juxtapose

Plantagenet Wines/The Collective

The judges liked the concept and use of old-fashioned typewriter-like type for the brand name fonts, but felt the name suggested dual varietal wines whereas the actual liquid was single varietal.

Highly Commended: Spier Collaborative Series – Blind Astronomer Pinotage 2008 and Chenin Blanc 2009

Spier Wines

The etched bottles were intricate and elaborate.


Bill Rolfe, director, 10 International

Paul Foulkes-Arellano, marketing director, Seymourpowell

Lee Reed, design director, Cartills

Christian Davis, editor, Drinks International