Bottle Label Progression

This page shows how my wine labels morphed over the years. My first labels, long lost to history, were printed on a dot matrix printer. Later ones were printed on a black-n-white laser printer, then on a color inkjet, and currently a color laser printer.

Tools? I don’t recall what I used to produce my first labels. In the 90’s I used Microsoft Word, then purchased a program produced by an older adult who changed careers and was educating himself in IT. I really liked his program, but once he graduated he stopped supporting it. I saved graphics of some of my labels, but when my key failed to work, I shifted back to Word.

For the last 15 years (or so) I have used Avery’s Design & Print, which is designed to work with their labels.

Note that the labels are presented in the order the wines were bottled, not in the order started, so it’s possible that a 2020 wine label may be presented before a 2019 label.

Bottled 1997

These are the oldest labels I still have, all created using Microsoft Word. I created tables with 4 cells per sheet, copied the first cell to the remaining 3, and printed on a laser printer.

I have no idea how I lost the Carmine labels.

Bottled 1999

The metheglin was (I think) my first color label. I printed it on an inkjet.

Yes, the spelling I used for metheglin was intentional, a version I found in Olde English.

Bottled 2000

This label was also created in MS Word, and the program had been upgraded enough that placing graphics was easier, so I used more.

I don’t have a record of the label I used for the Cabernet Sauvignon 2nd Run, but recall it was similar.


Bottled 2003

Having not made wine in several years, I recall that I simply used the last label as a template, and in hindsight, this is one of my uglier labels.

Bottled 2007

I experimented with using background color instead of just white. After burning through expensive ink cartridges, I realized this was a VERY bad idea. I also did more joke labels.

Bottled 2008

Having learned the previous year’s rather expensive mistake, my new design used a lot more white space with brighter colors for the text, along with relatively simple graphics. This year I changed fonts to BalloonEFDropShadow.

I have no clue why I printed the Sherry-Port labels in full color. My mind is a blank.

Yes, I had to print a few with joke labels …

Bottled 2009

I continued using BalloonEFDropShadow for the winery name, but went with a “classier” font for the wine name.

Bottled 2011

I continued using BalloonEFDropShadow for the winery name, but have no memory why I switched the font back for the Barolo.

By the fall I switched fonts, looking for something nicer. This is also the first usage of the Grape Warrior logo on labels.

I printed a special label for a friend’s birthday.

I made this special label for my martial arts instructor, but don’t recall the occasion.

I did a special label for a few bottles for my niece, but don’t recall if I even had a specific reason.

Bottled 2012

I kept the fonts the same for this year.

Since I bottle ports in split (375 ml) bottles I used a smaller label size, although it’s crowded looking.

Bottled 2014

At this point I switched to all small labels, to cut costs as I got 10 per sheet instead of 6. In hindsight, they look really crowded.

Bottled 2016

This year I played with fonts to make the labels more interesting.

Bottled 2018

2018 was a year with a lot of change. First, I bottled several wines that had been bulk aging way too long.

I printed these labels on color, gummed paper made specifically for winemaking. The paper was poor quality and it just didn’t work well with an inkjet printer.

And I just realized I spelled “Pinotage” wrong …

The Black Forest label was so hideous I ended up re-designing it, printing on a color laser printer, soaking all the labels off, and re-applying the new ones.

If you’re going to make wine you’re proud of, present it proudly!

At this point my winemaking went into high-gear, and I produced more wine in 3 months than I had in 3 years. I also switched back to the larger label format, and experimenting with graphics. I continued printing on a color laser printer.

My niece asked me to make a batch for her — she paid for the materials and I did the work. At that time she was on the edge of moving away from sweet wines, so I did a Fun Wine for her.

I produced a label for the Metheglin, but after bottling a few bottles I was dissatisfied with it, so I moved and enlarged the bee graphic. Plus I changed the font for the bottling date and ABV.

Overall, I was MUCH happier with these labels than with previous ones.

Bottled 2019

At the start of this year I continued experimenting with colorful graphics, choosing pictures that had some connection to the wine.

For the most part I kept the same theme for these labels, varying the wine name along with the graphic.

Symphony is a grape variety, but the graphic fit.

The second kit I made for my niece, where her transition to dry reds was virtually complete!

Bottled 2020

I made another kit for my niece — no, she wasn’t backsliding. A friend wanted half and that friend prefers sweet wines, so my niece decided to go in halves on one last Fun Wine kit.

Most of the following labels are for the fresh West Coast grapes I purchased.

In hindsight I’m unhappy with the next label, which came out a bit garish. Oh, well, I know what I won’t do in the future.

Bottled 2021

In the summer 2020, Patrick asked me to make wine for his wedding reception, scheduled for October 2021. I bottled the wines on 17 April 2021, although we did not label until just before the reception. I used a picture from Grace’s sister’s wedding, plus made a joke label that both Patrick and Grace liked. I labeled 25% of the wine with the joke label, which was on display at their reception.

This year is a revolution in my label making. Looking at the labels others post on WineMakingTalk, spurred me to revamp my designs in several ways.

One factor is that my elder son and I are collaborating on wines. He was having trouble coming up with a winery name he likes, so I suggested that we continue the collaboration with a common name: Fazekas Family Winery.

I created a logo for him, a longsword wrapped in a grape vine. All his wines will have his logo, as mine have the Grape Warrior. For wines we collaborate? We put his label on half and mine on the other half.

We also started using an image as a background so there is very little white space.

Although it’s hard to see at the reduced size, I manually cleaned up the Grape Warrior graphic my friend Geoff built for me. White was visible between the various graphics that comprise the image — I used paint.NET to color in the white so the overall graphic is cleaner.

Eric made a kit, and I designed the following label with the background graphic lightened.

Although the 2020 West Coast grapes are in 2 main batches, I reserved an unoaked gallon of each batch, which includes the Merlot, Zinfandel, and Vinifera Blend, plus an unoaked gallon of the Meritage and Meritage Plus. These are being saved for comparison on an annual basis.

Since I have 5 bottles of each, I created a basic design and varied the background gradient to help distinguish them.

For the 2020 second run wines, I made 3 labels. One carboy was kept separate, and I used a picture posted by an acquaintance on WineMakingTalk:

This next one is my best joke label so far!