The art of wine: Wine labels make great first impressions

By Shayna Wiwierski

They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.   With a large variety of wines of all different varietals, sometimes it can be difficult to find the vino that will satisfy your palette.  Bordeaux, chardonnay, cab sav, 1992 vintage, full bodied, there’s a whole gamut of terms for any sommelier or sommelier wannabe that can describe a good bottle of wine.  But what about those who don’t know where to start?

Like it or not, a great label or a catchy name can make the difference between your wine flying off the shelf or sitting there (aging gracefully, of course).  We chose some of our favourite labels and names that are sure to make a great first impression with anyone.

19 Crimes – Australia

Did you know that Australia was founded based on felons crowding UK jails?  The continent was in need of some civilization, so convicts were given punishment by transportation and thus a list of 19 crimes was drawn.  The conviction?  A torturous journey to an unknown land.

Each bottle from this Australian winery features a different convict, like John Boyle O’Reilly (shown), an Irish-born poet arrested for mutiny in 1866.

Dirty Laundry – Canada, B.C.

Known as the Okanagan’s “dirty little secret”, Dirty Laundry Vineyard is named after a Chinese man who escaped the railroad and came to Summerland, B.C. in the 1800s.  With an entrepreneurial spirit, he started a laundromat, and rumour has it, the upstairs contained gambling and a brothel.

This winery’s cheeky labels feature some risqué imagery, including their 2008 Bordello. This red wine comes with a mini magnifying glass that shows that the damask-like pattern is actually silhouetted women, bras, handcuffs and more, something that the naked eye may not have seen.

Sibling Rivalry – Canada, Ontario

What happens when three brothers join forces in a wine company?  Three blends of wine of course: white, red and pink.  Sibling Rivalry is produced by the three Speck brothers, the talent behind Henry of Pelham, one of Canada’s most successful and respected wineries.

More colourful than their other collections, these eye-catching pop-art bottles are sure to be a hit at any family gathering.

Saint & Sinner – Australia 

Looking for a good time?  Each bottle of Saint & Sinner features a number that you can call or text to find out more information, get naughty images, or special offers.

Available in five varieties, each features a label that describes the qualities of the wine, and of the women on the bottles.

Megalomaniac  – Canada, Ontario

For the ultimate narcissist, Megalomaniac took its name from John Howard, who wanted to originally name his wines after himself.  His friends thought he was “a [profanity withheld] megalomaniac” and thus, the wine was born.

Pair the Narcissist Riesling with a diamond set of cufflinks, a Rolex, and the finest oysters money can buy.

The Little Grape That Could – Argentina, by way of Toronto

Not only is this label uber cute to look at, but buying a bottle will make you feel great (and we aren’t just talking about the obligatory wine buzz).  The Little Grape That Could is a non-profit wine company where 100 per cent of the profits from the sale of each bottle of wine go to the charity of your choice in Ontario.  Simply buy a bottle, and then with the code at the back, visit their site at, put in the code and choose a charity that will receive the donation.

Each bottle also features a name that the company wants to celebrate or honour.  Available at the LCBO, this wine will make you feel good in more ways than one.


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