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The Art of the Wine Label

Art and wine go hand in hand, and with Hong Kong Arts Month about to kick off, we celebrate this delicious union by revealing the stories behind six of the cutest and cheekiest wine labels on the market. And who better to tell us these tales than the experts over at WINE MOMENTS, Hong Kong’s trusty online store which makes sure that our glasses are always full of the good stuff. Bottoms up!


A brief history …

The history of art and wine is a beautiful marriage and the association between the two can be traced back to the beginning of civilization. Like art, wine is about creativity and experience, so it’s no surprise that art became part of the actual wine bottle.

Wine labels can be dated back to ancient Egyptians where wine bottles in King Tuts Tomb were decorated with etchings. Early wine labels were simple pieces of parchment tied with string around the neck of the bottle. As wine trade increased in the 18th century, the region of the wine became so important that winemakers began describing the region with imagery on the label. By the 1700s, wine labels became a way for winemakers to show off the wine they had created.

Over time wine labels became elaborate and colourful pieces of art that reflected history’s great paintings. In the early 1900s winemakers took wine label art to new heights by commissioning important artist of the time to design their labels. Some of the artists commissioned by the winery Chateau Mouton Rothschild include Pablo Picasso, Jeff Koons, Robert Wilson, Andy Warhol, and Salvador Dali.

Wine bottle labels were originally intended to relay information about the wine, but it didn’t take long for wine labels to become a form of art themselves. Modern wine labels are more artistic than ever. From classic to contemporary styles, they tell a story about the wine inside. We want to share the stories behind some of our wine labels.


1. Domaine La Louviere

The legend about “Louviere”, which is located at the foot of the Pyrenees, tells the story of wolves gathering for hunting on the hills, where the wine is grown today. Based on this legend, the famous artist Cordula Alessandri from Vienna has designed the slightly provocative labels in the style of historic copperplate engraving, according to the character of each wine, pictured as seductively dressed human figures with a wolf’s head. Simply have a sip and let the wolf seduce you!


2. Pornfelder

The name Pornfelder comes from the two grapes in this wine – the PORtugieser and DorNFELDER. The winemakers took advantage of the provocative name and designed a label to match. The label uses tattoo art of two half-naked girls to match its rebel name. Using tattoo art on a wine bottle is just one of the many ways winemakers are changing the way we look at wine.


3. Lebenshilfe Deidesheimer Riesling

The Lebenshilfe Winery makes beautiful organic wine with a beautiful story. The winery Lebenshilfe means “life help” and is a foundation to support intellectual disabled adults and kids in Germany. The very cute wine label was hand drawn by a disabled woman who worked for the vineyard in the 80s. The simple crayon drawing visualizes the essentials of winemaking: sun, vines, soil, and a happy farmer.


4. Papa Luna

A more classic label design which, like many other labels, is inspired by the history of the region. The winemaker Norrel Robertson, a born Scotsman, has focused his work on finding old vines in the area Calatayud in the southwest of the Aragon, northern Spain, and making exceptional high-intensity wines with a story based on historic figures. In this case the label design and name of the wine is dedicated to Pedro Martinez de Luna, an antipope who reigned in the area around 1300. Take a ride back in time with a glass of Papa Luna.


5. Metzger

While other winemakers name their wines after stars or grapes, Uli Metzger decided to use a play on words (“Metzger” is German for butcher) and categorises his wines on a butcher’s chart. Taking inspiration from vintage butcher’s charts, the label was designed to be a simple sketch of a cow or pig with the cut lines. The different cuts of meat resemble the different quality levels in his wine.


6. FOGT Römerberg

The label of this winery is inspired by the Art Nouveau, most popular between 1890 and 1910, which carried the philosophy of being art as the way of life. The typical elements of the natural forms and structures found in nature, such as curved lines of plants and flowers, are a visual match to the delicate, handmade wines by the vineyard Fogt – definitely a way to enjoy life with this outstanding bottle.


Thirsty for more? Check out WINE MOMENTS delicious online store, and don’t miss their funky Art Jam event on March 9. You will have the chance to unleash your inner Picasso and get creative with a blank canvas, three different trendy wines, and delicious pizza at the beautiful Oscary Art workshop in PMQ. Click here to find out more and buy your tickets.


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