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The gold standard: Wine label contest winners

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Vigne Note by William Raineri

Any sommelier or wine shop owner will tell you: Don’t judge a wine by its label. It’s great advice, not that we can heed it.

Just like books, cereal boxes, magazines and beer cans, we tend to react to what we see on the outside, even if the inside has little or nothing to do with the splashy image and enticing font out front. If my peanut butter Puffins came in the Count Chocula box, would I still buy them? Doubtful.

So, while the folks who make the best wines might not necessarily choose the best typefaces (or label designers), there’s something to be said for pouring your Rosé or Cabernet out of a bottle that makes people actually want to drink it. Now, in what seems like some mild vindication for all of us label-judgers out there, there’s actually a contest that judges that which we are not to judge.

The 2011 International Wine Label Design Contest out of Napa Valley honored the best bottle art in six categories, including Successful Innovation, Dramatic Graphics and Classic Style. The overall winner was Lamoreaux Landing, a New York-based winery, which won for its label designed by Veronica Martin. The full list of 2011 winners is below, as judged by an international panel of wine experts and educators.

While these are labels are certainly well-designed, they don’t quite live up to the labels showcased in this Coolist roundup of 30 ridiculously awesome wine bottles (two are below). And here’s the thing, even though I have no idea what the wine tastes like inside, I want to buy every single one.

Leach Blog Photo

Lazarus Wine's braille bottle

Leach Blog Photo

Matsu wine

Successful Innovation

GOLD – Love Seafood, designed by Alan McCorkindale of Christchurch, New Zealand

SILVER – Belle Dame, designed by Vanessa Mylchreest of Christchurch, New Zealand

BRONZE – Noir, designed by Karen Knecht of konnectDesign, Santa Monica, California

Wine Label Contest Winners

Dramatic Graphics

GOLD – Lamoreaux Landing, designed by Veronica Martin of Miami, Florida

SILVER – Buble, designed by Karen Knecht of konnectDesign, Santa Monica, California

BRONZE – Ray’s Station, designed by Mark Davis of Robert Mather & Gibbs, Santa Rosa, California

Classic Style

GOLD – Finca Vides Torcidas, designed by Dan Kaplan of Daniel B Kaplan Design, New York, New York

SILVER – Ray’s Station, designed by Mark Davis of Robert Mather & Gibbs, Santa Rosa, California

BRONZE – Wine by Numbers, designed by David Danz of LeBlanc Design, Placerville, California

Label Series

GOLD – Vigne Note, designed by William Raineri of Raineri Design, Brescia, Italy

SILVER – Sawhorse Cellars, designed by Karen Knecht of konnectDesign, Santa Monica, California

BRONZE – BVN Wines, designed by Dan Kaplan of Daniel B Kaplan Design, New York, New York

Labels Not Currently in Production

GOLD – Between the Vines, designed by Dan Kaplan of Daniel B Kaplan Design, New York, New York

SILVER – Sintonia, designed by Faini Eugenia of Grafica e Comunicazione, Jesi, Italy

Overall Winner

Lamoreaux Landing, designed by Veronica Martin of Miami, Florida

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Sarah Feldberg is the editor of Las Vegas Weekly magazine. A veteran journalist, Feldberg previously worked as the Weekly's web ...

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