As it turns out, many of you used your time in quarantine to learn how to make wine or to improve your brewing skills. All that free time was a great motivator. Now you’re ready to label your wine bottles. Sounds easy enough, right? Labeling a batch of bottles by hand can be stickier (pun intended) than you expect unless you follow these tips.
Top 3 Tips for Labeling Wine Bottles
TIP 1: The number one trick to getting your wine label straight on the bottle is to have the bottle held securely. Find a pre-made bottle chock or anything that will the hold bottle snug while applying your custom wine label.
TIP 2: Use a guide to line up the label. Find a point to line up either the sides, top, or bottom of the label to make sure it’s square to the bottle. Square means edges are even to the bottom and sides of the wine bottle. You don’t want your labels applied on a slant to the bottle.
Most bottles have a seam you can use to guide one side of the label. You can also use a string as a guide, pulled across whatever is holding the bottle. See the photo below.
TIP 3: Partially remove one strip of the protective backing on the label, not all of it. This makes it easier to handle the label and avoid having it stick where you don’t want it to. Next, align the label to the bottle. Press the exposed portion of the label to the bottle, then remove the rest of the backing and smooth with your fingers, (not your fingernails), making sure to smooth out all of the air bubbles from the center to the edges.
Buy These Gadgets To Make Labeling Wine Bottles Easy
Foldable Wine Chock
This compact wine holder is a helpful gadget that stores easily and holds up to three bottles when labeling and up to six bottles as a wine rack. It’s made of bamboo and folds up into a small rectangle for storage. This rack is made by Design Ideas and can be found at Walmart. It has a felt backing that keeps it from slipping as you apply your labels. Use the black bands as guides to line up the top or bottom of your label.
Plastic Wine Rack
Another gadget to label wine bottles is a bottle holder made of molded plastic. It holds wine bottles in place while you label. There is one trick to this one; it slips on smooth surfaces. To hold the rack in place either secure it with a sticky pad like 3M mounting squares or set it on a fabric surface that prevents it from sliding around. You can find this rack online at Amazon or a variety of other websites for under $10.
Make Your Own Homemade Device to Hold Bottles for Labeling
Old timers would use the term jig, which by definition is “a plate, box, or open frame for holding work” to describe these wine bottle holders. We think that’s the perfect word. Regardless, depending on how often you make wine and label wine bottles you might find these homemade devices helpful.
Repurpose a Shoe Box
It doesn’t get more basic than this; a shoe box with some filler on the sides to hold the bottle in place. It works well and you’ll find the sides of the box are great for lining up the edges of the label so they go on straight.
Build a Handmade Wooden Jig
Wooden jigs are a great gadget for labeling bottles. Wine clubs use them because having several of them allows for more than one bottle at a time to be labeled. This wine club has the right idea; they’re turning wine bottle labeling into happy hour!
Notice how this jig has a narrow opening at the top to securely hold the bottle neck and a wider opening for the bottom of the bottle.
The internet is full of plans to make wine jigs. If you’re a wood worker or even took basic wood shop then you’ll find this plan for a five bottle wine jig pretty easy to follow. This jig holds five bottles and uses a cord as a guide to line up the bottom of the wine label. (See the photo above under “Top 3 Tips for Label Wine Bottles.”)
You may be labeling only a few bottles but these tips can still benefit you. For single bottle application follow these easy steps.
How to Label a Single Bottle of Wine
- Place the bottle on a surface that will prevent it from rolling, 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.
- Gently flex the label until a seam on the back of the label opens. Next peel away one strip of the protective backing.
- Grasp the label tightly on both sides and align the label horizontal with the bottle.
- Press the label on the bottle on the end where you removed the paper backing making sure the label is straight. Once it’s straight peel away the remainder of the protective backing and smooth the label from the center out to both sides.
- Check for any air bubbles and smooth them out gently toward the label edges using the pads of your finger tips not your fingernails.
If you have ideas to pass along that have helped you label your homemade wine or beer, please feel free to leave comments below.
For questions about our labels or how to get started designing, chat with us online Monday through Friday 9 am to 3 pm Pacific time, or email us at info at bottleyourbrand dot com.