Northwest Cellars Custom Wine Labels

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Award-winning wines and custom wine labels. Wine. Now it gets personal.

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Posted on in Educational

Create a Personalized Wine Label to Remember

By: Sharon Benton

You are going to a wedding, a birthday party, or sponsoring a corporate event, and you are thinking about wine as a gift. Why not take the gift one step further with a personalized wine label?

It’s fun to design your own label for that special occasion. The technical specifications are pretty straight forward—there are two label sizes depending on which wine you get. And it is very important that you the file you send to Northwest Cellars is at least a 300 dpi resolution JPG. That is referred to as a high resolution file. The better the resolution, the more crisp and clear the image will look on your label. You can find detailed technical specifications here.

Beyond the technical, you want your label to have a big emotional impact. Start with the photo, logo, or the image you want to use on your label. This is what people will notice first before reading a single word on the label.  Laura Olsen of Olsen Creative explains, "…the emotional impact of visuals can make or break any thing you can put in writing."

First, consider the event you are creating a label for – a wedding, birthday, a thank you gift, or a corporate gift. Think about not only how you want the label to look, but also how you want it to "feel". What message do you want to convey?

For a wedding or an anniversary you may want something elegant or happy and fun, probably with a photo of the happy couple. When choosing a photo, look for one that is in sharp focus without a distracting background. For an anniversary, an old wedding photo can work beautifully. For the font, a script or calligraphic font is a good choice, as it resembles writing from a typical wedding invitation. Consider a font such as :


EdwardianScriptLabel MaryEdwardWineLabel

If you are designing for a corporate event keep corporate colors in mind. The font you use should be similar to the corporate font, or a simple font that does not compete with corporate identity. For example, the fonts used for the wedding labels above would probably not be appropriate for a corporate gift. Of course, there are always exceptions, for example, a company specializing in bridal wear, a florist, or other such industries, you could get away with a fancier font because of the nature of the business.

But simpler fonts would be a better fit for most corporate labels, such as:


If you are using a corporate logo,  consider incorporating the company colors in the label design, such as these labels:

SahalieWineLabel CobaltMortgageWineLabel

Are you gifting some lucky person with a case of wine for their birthday? Think about the recipient and their personality. Are they fun-loving, adventurous, artistic, serious? What would they really appreciate on their special label - a photo of themselves, their dog, their car?  Vintage photos can be fun, too! Again, match the font to the image you are using and think of the mood you want to create. These fonts are full of personality:


BarbMoeWineLabel RuthWineLabel

You can see more sample labels for inspiration here. If you are uncertain about designing your own label, Northwest Cellars designers can help make your personalized wine label sing!

For more information, take a look at this page on the Northwest Cellars web site.

Posted on in Educational

By: Sharon Benton

There’s a wine bar in Tokyo that serves only Japanese wines. “Sake and plum wine?“ you might ask. The answer is no. Japan has a secret – it’s making wine from grapes, and had been for a over a century now. And it is surprisingly good.

The wine bar is called Jip. It’s located in Shinjuku, part of the giant Tokyo metropolis. We wandered the streets and alleys of Shinjuku trying to find this wine bar and the Shinjuku Pitt Inn – a famous jazz club. While the Pitt Inn remained elusive, we found our way to Jip and took a seat at the bar.

Since we were the only customers, Awoyama, our server at the bar, spent time chatting with us and educating us on Japanese wines.

We tasted four whites – a Chardonnay, a wine made from the Kerner grape (native to Germany), and two wines from the Koshu grape (a grape native to Japan – more about that later). The Chardonnay was nice – lighter and less oaky than a typical American Chardonnay.

The Kerner grape originates from Germany and is a cross between the Riesling and Trollinger grapes. The Izutsu Kerner was off-dry, but not all that interesting.

My favorite wines were from the Koshu grape, in particular the one from Grace Winery. Nice, dry, and crisp, similar to a Sauvignon Blanc. All the whites we tasted were on the light side, but that makes sense when you think about pairing with Japanese food like sushi or Udon noodles in a light broth. And as hot as it gets in Tokyo during the summer, a chilled glass of Koshu is a cool, refreshing treat!

Japan has been producing wine on a large scale since the late 1870s, though wine has been made throughout the country over the last 1,000 years when the first grapes arrived via the Silk Road.

After World War II, wine production really took off, although most wines were sweetened with honey or sugar, as the Japanese palate preferred a sweeter wine. The 70s and 80s saw much refinement in the industry and a trend toward European style wines.

Most grapes come from the Yamanashi Prefecture, about 75 miles southwest of Tokyo in the foothills of Mt Fuji. It is known as the fruit basket of Japan and in addition to grapes grown plums, peaches, and other fruits. The lush green valleys and mountainsides make for the ideal fruit growing climate, with long sunny summer days and cold winters. This region produces over 25% of all grapes in Japan.

While these wines may not compare in complexity to the wines of France, California, or the Pacific Northwest, Japanese wines were an unexpected pleasure.

 Jip Sign jip red bottle

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