What You See Is What You Get With These Wine Label Designs
Photo: Andia/UIG (Getty Images)
There’s no packaging bursting with creativity more than wine labels. From elaborate, colorful works of art to dips into the dark and eerie, consumers often select their spirit based on how it looks. There’s an old advertising term called “shelf pop.” It’s when a brand that doesn’t have a ton of market share designs their product to be eye-catching in the store. They’re literally trying to get it to pop off the shelf to entice users who have likely never heard of their brand to buy it. So, when you’re not a Sutter Home or a Robert Mondavi, you get creative with your packaging.
We decided to pick five wines based solely on their visual appeal to see if they tasted as appetizing as their attractive labels promised.
Killibinbin Seduction Cabernet Sauvignon
This beauty’s got “seduction” right in the name. Just try to walk past that alluring vixen, whose eyes seem to follow your gaze as she beckons you to pull her off the shelf. A mix of Jessica Rabbit meets Old Hollywood glam, she teases you with full bodied-ness that translates directly to the glass. Voluptuous and velvety, this wine boasts a vine ripe fruit forward flavor that melts into a mix of chocolate and cassis, getting richer as it lingers on the tongue. It’s not as smoldering as the label suggests, but there’s a touch of smoke at the finish that keeps you coming back for more.
Orin Swift Mannequin Chardonnay
On the other end of the spectrum, this Chardonnay also holds your gaze, but it’s more morbid curiosity as your brain tries to make sense of the scene on the bottle. Still, you can’t look away. Mannequins in various states of emotion take you from intrigue to fear, implying a spectrum of flavors. And it delivers exactly that. Crisp notes of green apple, pineapple, and honey lure you into lush fields for your taste buds to frolic in honeysuckles, jasmine, and fennel pollen. But don’t get too comfy among the flowers because as nightfall sets in, a rich caramel casts its buttery shadow, deepening with every sip as the heat of a freshly torched crème brûlée takes over, solidifying your spot among the plastic carnage. Settle in. You’re one of them now.
A storm’s brewing on this label, ripping off rooftops with tornado-like intensity against some sort of Medieval backdrop. The swirls on your tongue are just as explosive as the art, knocking you off kilter with a medley of spices. Peppercorn hits first, making its presence known as spicy raspberries and rhubarb force their way across its peppery undercurrent, leaving charred fruit and subtle hints of chocolate in its wake. It’s the total destruction of traditional Zinfandel tastes, and this force of nature will capture you in its clutches, leaving you wet, breathless, and chasing twisters.
K Vintners Cabernet The Creator
You can tell by the look on his face, the dude on the label is badass. He doesn’t follow trends or care what other people think. But he’s not arrogant about it. Infinitely comfortable in his own skin, he has a quiet – yet unrelenting – confidence that’s mirrored in the wine. A sturdy surge of dense, dark plum and bold blackberry bring forth big flavors yet it remains plush and graceful, carrying you across miles of dusty earth and cool ash. Surrender to the stony tannins and let him hold you in his strong embrace until morning.
Chronic Cellars Stone Fox White Blend
We couldn’t resist reaching for something with chronic in the name and a psychedelic mosaic of colors, reminiscent of the kaleidoscope of euphoria you get from a solid sativa high. This is a happy wine, transporting your tongue to the tropics with bursts of bright pineapple, blissful berries, pleasant papaya, and toasty coconut. You’re instantly swaying on a hammock, enjoying a serene sunset as you shoot the shit with the locals. And as the name suggests, you can’t stop smiling as juicy, feel-good fruits keep you on a permanent vacation.
In each of these brands, the label seems to mimic its inner elixir. These are wines you’d expect to be popular among interesting people, people you want to hang out with and whose stories you want to hear. Perhaps the complete lack of compelling aesthetics or originality in some of the big vineyards’ labels means they’re fit for an older, wealthier crowd. Well, bah humbug, pragmatics. We’ll be getting drunk with the surrealists.