​How to make Wine Bottle Labels

Are you looking for customised labels or stickers for your wine? Check out our large range of labels for wine. So here are the key steps you need to take, whether you’re labelling wine bottles for sale or for gifts, to help ensure your bottle labels will impress your customers, friends, family or guests.

This information is not just for those making their own wine from grapes and other fruits. There’s a growing trend for printing personalised bottle labels to go on pre-bought wine to mark big celebrations, such a wedding reception or anniversary party.

Step 1: Measure the label area on your wine bottle with care

There can be big differences in wine bottle shapes and sizes, so it really does pay to measure your surface area precisely. Bear in mind that labels cannot go on a surface that is tapered – they can only go on the cylindrical area below the ‘shoulder’ of a bottle.

Some wine bottles have high and rounded shoulders, while others are sloping.

If you’re recycling wine bottles for home brewing, it’s best to use bottles that are more or less the same shape. And if your bottles already have labels on them, check what size labels have already been used on the bottle.

A standard 75cl wine bottle with a high shoulder, for example, will typically have a circumference of 23 cm and straight sides around 15cm high where the label can go. For a sloping shoulder wine bottle, the circumference is likely to be 27cm or more with a smaller area below the shoulders of 10cm or less.

Sparkling wine and champagne bottles are made from thicker glass due to the pressure inside. These bottles can measure over 30cm around the widest part, and can have as little as 6cm in height below the sloping shoulders for your labels.

TIP: To measure your wine bottles accurately, always use a piece of string or tailor’s tape measure for the rounded surface.

Step 2: Choose the right size label

Making sure your labels fit correctly is really important and a key part of making your labels look professional. The last thing you want to do is re-create and re-order your wine labels.

At Avery WePrint, there’s a wide range of label sizes to fit wine bottles which you can use in either orientation: portrait (longest sides vertical) or landscape (longest sides horizontal).

First, decide if you are going to be using one label or two – one on the front to ‘sell’ the wine and say what it is, and one on the back for more detailed information. (If you’re creating labels for pre-bought wine for a special occasion, you might want to keep the existing label on the back.)

For standard bottles with high shoulders, wine bottle labels are usually used in the portrait orientation. A typical rectangle label size for this type of bottle would be 75mm x 110mm.

Step 3: Choose your label shape

All Avery WePrint shapes work well on bottles. These are:

  • Rectangle
  • Oval
  • Plaque
  • Straight Oval
  • Square
  • Round

For high-shoulder bottles, you’ll be looking at a portrait orientation for rectangle, oval, plaque and straight oval shapes.

On some types of wider bottles with sloping shoulders, you may need to use the landscape orientation in these shapes. Square or round labels can also work well on the front of these bottle shapes.

TIP: For a special finishing touch, very small circular stickers with a 19mm diameter are a perfect fit for the top of a wine bottle, provided you have a flat, smooth surface to stick it on, or to provide a pop of colour on the front

Step 4: Choose your label material

Whichever material you choose, all Avery WePrint labels are carefully produced and printed to enhance your wine label design and to avoid fading and scuffing.

Avery WePrint has six different materials to choose from for wine bottle labels. These not only add to the ‘look and feel’ of your wine labels, but also have practical benefits. If your bottles are going to be kept in a wine cooler, ice bucket or fridge, for example, a water resistant material is a real advantage.

The six materials for wine bottle labels are:

  • Paper – comes in matt, gloss and natural finish
  • Plastic – a durable film designed to be water resistant
  • Textured Paper – premium paper with an off-white, antique look, a textured surface and water resistant properties
  • Brown Kraft Paper – ideal if you want to give your wine a homemade, eco-friendly or rustic look
  • Clear Plastic – another water resistant material using a special underprinting process to make your design stand out on a transparent background
  • Waterproof – labels that meet the highest international standards for exposure to water, extreme temperatures and chemicals

TIP: For an extra personal touch, you can add a handwritten message to labels made from the Paper material in a natural or matt finish, and from Brown Kraft Paper. You can also write on Waterproof labels with a marker pen. If you’re running a small business, this level of personalisation can be a great marketing advantage.

Step 5: Design, check and order your wine labels.

Wine label design is easy with the Avery WePrint online tool. It allows you to use a ready-made template and adapt it, or create your own design from scratch. Alternatively, you can upload pre-prepared artwork.

You can also upload your own images, such as a logo, to the Design Tool. And it gives you a wide range of fonts, shapes and effects, so you can add pro elements, such as typing on a curve, that normally require expensive software.

The Design Tool gives you guidelines so can be sure that your design will print right to the edge of the label if you need it to, or that your design won’t get trimmed in the wrong place.

Once you’ve finished your label design, check it – and then check it again! At this checking stage, a second pair of eyes is always useful.

TIP: If you want to experiment with different designs, just order the minimum quantity – a sheet or two – to see what you like best and do research with family and friends.

Step 6: Prepare your wine bottles

Your wine bottle labels need to go onto a clean, dry, smooth surface that is not greay or oily. If your bottles are pre-used, or if you’re customising pre-bought wine, you’ll have to remove the previous labels and any residue.

Most labels will peel off easily after being soaked in warm water. Adding cleaning agents, such as washing-up liquid, baking soda or an oxidising powder to the water can help.

An alternative method is to put paper towel soaked in a warm water solution over the label, wrap it in a tight-fitting plastic bag and leave it in a warm place for a few hours. Razor blades or scourers can then be used to remove any residue from the adhesive.

TIP: To sterilise your bottles without a steriliser, you can swill them thoroughly with boiling water after washing them, or place them in the oven. Recommended times range from one hour at 170°C to 12 hours (overnight) at 121°C.

Step 7: Apply your labels

Make sure your wine bottles are dry and at room temperature before you start applying the labels.

It may take a bit of practice to get your labels horizontally straight onto the curved surface of a wine bottle. The good news is that the Avery WePrint adhesive takes around 24 hours to fully bond, so you can reposition your labels.

If your wine bottles are going to be displayed in a row, getting the label in exactly the same position on each bottle can be a challenge. People have come up with all kinds of ingenious methods to achieve this.

One solution is to place a label on one wine bottle and then use it as a guide to for positioning the rest. Bottles can roll around, however, so some people prefer to mark the bottle and label positions on a piece of paper or wood.

TIP: If your bottles have a visible join, known as a ‘seam’, it can be a useful guide to help you place your labels straight – but don’t try to place the label over the seam.

How to get started

We hope we’ve given you some helpful guidance on creating wine bottle labels that will make a great impression. If you’re ready to get started, please visit our page on Wine Bottle Labels .