Thursday, December 7, 2017

Types of wine/bottle labels - Overview

Wine labels (also known as bottle tickets), are a popular collecting area.

The earliest form - an Escutcheon label by Louis Hamon, circa 1750
With my main interest being in antique sterling silver, I have focussed on labels made from the precious metal. They can also be found made from other things such as mother of pearl and porcelain. 


Early collectors, such as Dr N. Penzer suggested 20 categories for labels.

The Wine Label Circle, which is a collecting club for those interested in wine and sauce labels, reclassifies the categories, dividing the types of labels into 23 different categories in their authoritative book, Wine Labels:1730-2003, a worldwide history. 

These categories are helpful for the majority of labels, although there will always be exceptions that will fit in to two or more.

The 23 categories listed are:

  • Escutcheons
  • Rectangles
  • Scrolls
  • Ovals
  • Crescents
  • Stars and Buttons
  • Sun in Splendour
  • Bottle Collars and Neck Rings
  • Single Letters and Cut-out Words
  • Bacchic Revellers
  • Barrels
  • Anchors
  • The Balloon Label
  • Bugles
  • Crowns
  • Harps
  • Hearts
  • Goblets
  • Shells
  • Vine and Other Leaves
  • Armorial
  • Commemorative
  • Military and Navel

Of these various types of labels, the most commonly occurring are Escutcheons, Rectangles, Crescents, Single Letters and Vine Leaves.

A Crescent label by Margret Binley, circa 1770

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