Creating a personalized wine label for homemade wine or for a special occasion is not something you do everyday so you might have a few questions about choosing label sizes. We’ve plenty of information on our site about creating label artwork, so this post will address what size label fits your wine bottle.
Whether you just made your first batch of wine, (congratulations!), or you’ve purchased wine to re-label for a gift, you’ll want to choose the best label size.
Sizes for Re-Labeling Store Bought Wine for Gifts
You have two choices when re-labeling wine you buy to present as a gift. You can either cover the existing wine label, or, as we recommend, soak off the existing label and apply the new one. If you’re all about doing things the easy way then you’re probably only looking to slap that sticker on the bottle and go. In that case you will want to create a label that fits over the one already on the bottle you bought.
In the photo below are bottles from the store and the first three bottles on the left have rectangle labels that are taller than they are wide. Usually the 4″ w x 6″ h label fits bottles such as these. The next two bottles, number 4 and 5 from the left, the label is a little taller than it is wide. You’ll most likely have good luck with the 3.5″ w x 4″ h labels. The bottle on the far right has a square label. Because of the steep slope of the bottle shoulders a tall label won’t work on this bottle. The 4″ x 4″ square label would probably be a safe choice.
How to Label a Wine Bottle That Already Has a Label
For special occasions where you want to give a bottle with your custom label on it we recommend you first purchase the bottle and then measure the existing label. Order the label that will ensure complete coverage of the old label on the bottle. Since BYB labels are made from a synthetic material and are heavier weight than paper, covering up the old label is an option.
To put the new label on the bottle simply pull the protective backing from one section where there’s a seam. Leave part of the backing on the new label. This will give you a chance to line up your label on the bottle without messing up and having the entire label stick on crooked. Once you have aligned the label then pull the remaining backing off and smooth the label away from the center to all four edges. This gives you a good application without bubbles.
As you can see by this illustration, the new label is taller and wider than the label on the bottle. This makes it easy to cover the old label without a lot of fuss. The custom label in this example is 5″ x 5″. If you’re a purist and want to remove the existing label before you put the new one on the bottle please visit this page for tips on how to remove the existing wine labels.
Label Sizes for Homemade Wine
When labeling homemade wine the first thing you must address is the bottle shape. Bottle shapes are historically chosen by the wine producers from various regions in the world. True wine connoisseurs know what’s in a wine bottle just by looking at the shape! Vintners follow the traditions of their local area when it comes to bottling wine in the appropriately shaped bottle. So be sure to read on to view the bottle shapes and what size label fits them.
Wine Label Size Recommendations According to Bottle Shape
The sizes we recommend based on the most common bottle shapes are:
- 3.5 inches wide by 4 inches high
- 4 inches by 4 inches
- 5 inches by 5 inches
- 4 inches wide by 6 inches high or reversed 6 inches wide by 4 inches high
The pre-made wine label templates on our site are 3.5 inches wide by 4 inches high. The other sizes can be found on the Make Your Own pages either under Rectangle Stickers or Square Stickers. Using the online designer any label size is customizable. Whether you use a template in the “standard” size 3.5 w x 4 h or make a design from scratch, all four sizes we listed are options.
We took the five most common wine bottle shapes and created this guide to help you choose a wine label size. You may know some of these bottle shapes already, but I bet you’ve never thought about what size label fits what wine bottle until you undertook making your own custom wine label. Use this guide to make the perfect label for your wine bottle.
Five Common Wine Bottle Shapes and Which Label Size to Use
#1 Alsace or Mosel Bottle Shape
The Alsace or Mosel bottle is a slender bottle with gently sloping sides. It’s taller that other wine bottle styles. This style bottle is used for sweet dessert wines like Riesling or Gewurztraminer. As you can see by the illustration the label shouldn’t be any taller than 4.5 inches to prevent wrinkles forming on the label. Recommendation: Use the 3.5″ w x 4″ h or 4″ x 4″ wine label size.
#2 Bordeaux Bottle Shape
The Bordeaux bottle has straight sides and a defined shoulder. This is a widely used bottle size and most likely is the size you’ll use for home wine making. This bottle is versatile since many label sizes fit this shape. Label this bottle with a label as tall as 6.5 inches. The tallest label to customize on BYB is 6 inches high and looks great on this bottle style. Recommendation: Use the 3.5″ w x 4″ h, 4″ x 4″, 5″ x 5″, or 4″ w x 6″ h wine label size.
#3 Burgundy Bottle Shape
The Burgundy bottle has gently sloping shoulders which cuts into height choices for labeling. These bottles have a slightly more stout width than other bottles. They are used for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and some Barolo wines. A label no higher than 4 1/2 inches fits this bottle perfectly. Recommendation: Use the 3.5″ w x 4″ h or 4″ x 4″ wine label size.
#4 Champagne or Sparkling Wine Bottle Shapes
Champagne bottles generally have sloping shoulders and a deep punt, (the indentation on the bottom of the bottle.) The pressure inside the bottle is the reason for the shape and the thick glass. There’s a lot of pressure inside a Champagne bottle! Choose a label that’s no more than 4 inches high or better yet an oval label. Since some Champagne bottles have steeply curved sides we recommend you check your bottle first before creating your label. Recommendation: Use the 4″ x 4″ label size.
#5 Rhone Bottle Shape
The Rhone bottle is similar to the Burgundy bottle but may differ in circumference, (the distance around.) The shoulders have a slightly more angular slope than the Burgundy bottle. Wines bottled in this shape bottle are Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. The tallest label recommended for this shape is 4 1/2 inches. Recommendation: Use the 3.5″ w x 4″ h or 4″ x 4″ label size.
How to Label a Blank Wine Bottle
The best way to label a blank wine bottle is to follow these steps:
- If you can find a wine bottle chock like the one here it will make labeling your bottle a breeze. If not, place the bottle on a surface that will not allow it to roll, with the top of the bottle pointing at 12 o’clock away from your body. We recommend using your lap, with your knees holding the bottle securely.
- Slip one fingernail under the corner of the label or flex the label to ‘crack’ the seam on the protective backing. Pull away only one portion of the backing to expose the adhesive.
- Grasp the label lightly on both ends and align horizontally with the label area on the bottle. Most wine bottles will have a seam in the glass you can use to line up the vertical edge of the label. Press the label edge on the seam and once it’s aligned press down lightly on the edge. Pull the remaining protective backing away and smooth the label carefully with the pads of your fingertips. Do not use your fingernails to smooth the label.
- Smooth all the edges down firmly on all four corners.
If you need help with determining a label size feel free to email us at info at bottleyourbrand.com. We’re happy to point you in the right direction.