Artists’ Labels

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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artists’ labels, wine labels illustrated by works of art, often a different one for each vintage. Baron Philippe de rothschild commissioned the Cubist Jean Carlu to design a mould-breaking label for the 1924 vintage of Ch mouton-rothschild, the first to be château bottled. He instituted this as an annual custom from the 1945 vintage, with the result that collectors may seek particular missing labels, thereby adding value to Mouton Rothschild even in lesser or earlier-maturing vintages (of which most bottles tend to have been opened). Since then, vintages of Mouton have enjoyed particular réclame in countries such as Japan, Denmark, Holland, and Spain associated with the artist responsible for that year’s label. Wine producers all over the world have since emulated this practice, notably Leeuwin Estate of western australia, although none to such clever effect.