Designing the Wine LabelsI have to... photo
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Partners in Wine III

April 21, 2017

Designing the Wine Labels

I have to admit, designing a wine label was on my bucket list of design projects…and now I have revised that item by adding an (s) to the word label. This just peaked my interest and I’m ready to push the boundaries of what we can do next time around. The best solutions come from total team effort so I was confident we needed to include an illustration element by our talented designer/illustrator as I felt his style really worked with this project. I really wanted to see an illustrated portion of this label – like Angelo, I also follow my gut; the wine is crafted by hand, our food is crafted by hand so why wouldn’t the label be crafted by hand as well?

Now the world of Wine Label design is such a big and beautiful place. We were overwhelmed and delighted by the possibilities…foils, and die cuts and letterpress oh my….oh the list goes on…but this is the real world people. And we had some strict guidelines to follow when it came to the actual label. We couldn’t add any additional processes to the CMYK print. Ok. No problem, it is challenges like this that make great design solutions.

Some of the parameters we set out for ourselves specified that it had to represent our group with some kind of relationship between the two labels, as well as have some sense of the individual brands. With that in mind, we decided that the conceptual idea was key. It had to have depth and meaning. But what was more important, was that it had to tell the story of our two companies coming together, and the relationship it forged in a quick, 2D, visual way.

Whew! Okay, let’s go.

So we knew this:

  • CMYK only
    • Name: Charcoal Red, Wildcraft White
    • Rectangle label dimensions – wrap style
    • Tells the story of the history and relationship between Charcoal Group of Restaurants & Cave Spring Cellars
    • Visually represents the group as a whole
    • Each label visually represents the individual brand associated with the name
    • Tons of rules & regs for wine labelling
    • Quick turnaround time
    • must incorporate an illustration element.

    After many brainstorming sessions about style and approach. We came up with some great concepts and we went ahead full steam ahead to develop them.

  • From hand-signed elements, photography backgrounds, to typography and everything in between—we pushed each idea as far as we could take it.

    In the end, only one could be selected.

    The design approach that was chosen was one that seemed to touch on all of the challenge requirements nicely. It represents the individual brands as well as has an overall consistent look and feel so there’s no doubt that they are related in some way. It’s simple and bold. The one element we really enjoy is the illustrated images.


    The illustration on each label is a visual and symbolic representation of the relationship between TCG and CSC. Cave Spring Cellars has a “Hawk” to represent the brand, and when I asked Thomas for it’s significance to the brand, I got this amazing response,

    “As for the Hawks, they are native at our vineyard due to the collision of thermal winds off Lake Ontario with the steep limestone cliff of the Niagara Escarpment at the site which creates air turbulence that allows predatory birds – ranging from Red-tailed, Broad-winged and Sharp-shinned hawks as well as Northern Goshawks and Turkey Vultures – to cruise and hover above the vineyard. These birds of prey hunt ground animals as well as smaller birds, particularly Starlings, which are an ever-present threat to our grapes, especially during the ripening season. The bird on our label is, in fact, a Goshawk, which tends to hunt more in the forest above the vineyard. It is a majestic bird in its stature when perched, and for this reason, our graphic designer, Franc Petric, chose it to illustrate our emblem. Metaphorically, we selected the hawk as our emblem since, in their majestic flight above our vineyard riding thermal lake breezes they embody the interaction of landscape, geology and airflow that defines the microclimate at Cave Spring Vineyard.”

    The Charcoal Red “Birds of a Feather” brings together the ‘Bull’ which was the original logo for the Charcoal Steak House back in the late 1950’s (and is still up on the side of the building if you look hard enough from the Fairway and Weber intersection!) done in a very vintage style illustration technique to nod to the 60 years of history.

    The Wildcraft White “Foraging Hawk” highlights the core of the Wildcraft name (the definition of ‘Wildcrafting’ is to gather herbs, plants and fungi from the wild) represented by a Wine Vine together with the symbolic Cave Spring Hawk. Again, to symbolically represent this relationship between the two brands.

    We are happy to have these labels in house and can’t wait to see them out on tables. There’s so much that goes into one bottle. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

    The Final Labels

    Posted almost 2 years ago


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