Bin Labels

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

bin labels, were necessitated by the practice of binning unlabelled bottles.

The most common form of bin label was made of pottery and was approximately the shape of a coat hanger some 3–5 in/7–13 cm wide. At the apex there was an additional lug, pierced so that it formed a suspension ring. As many were nailed to the cellar masonry, they have often been broken or cracked during removal.

Early English bin labels (dating to the mid 18th century) are delftware (tin-glazed earthenware) with blue or deep magenta calligraphy (upper case) on a white to pale blue ground. Almost all later ones have black lettering on white pottery, although coloured lettering is very rarely seen. European labels came in a variety of forms and often with polychrome decoration; the language of the writing usually provides an obvious clue to the country of origin.