Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

labels, the principal means by which a wine producer or bottler can communicate with a potential customer and consumer (although see also bottles, case, foil).

Wine labels are a relatively recent development, which awaited the widespread sale of bottled wine, and use of glues strong enough to stick to glass in about 1860. Before then wines were sold unlabelled and stacked in bins, and served in decanters, so bin labels and decanter labels are the precursors of today’s wine-bottle label. For many years, wines were identified by branded corks rather than by paper labels, a habit that persisted longest for vintage port.