Choosing the right wine to pair with a dish is an art form to some. Should it be red wine or chardonnay? Port or Rosé?

The perfect pairing makes all the difference. And so does the label. Having unique product labels will help attract customers towards your fine selection if you’re a winemaker.

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An elegant design beautifully crafted to fit the bottle can set the right impression you need to place your brand as the top choice. Even if you’re not a winemaker, you might want to surprise a special someone for their birthday or bridal shower with a DIY project, or maybe you want your wedding wine labels to represent your personality.

Whatever the reason, creating a custom wine bottle label is probably not something you do every day, so you might have a lot of questions on how to go about it. This label size guide will answer them for you. And if you read till the end you'll find out how you can get access to some very nifty wine label templates.

The most common wine labels

The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that there isn’t a strict standard size for personalized wine labels. These are just some best practices that we are going to address.

But when labeling wine, you first need to know the bottle shape. Historically, bottle shapes have been chosen by winemakers from various regions in the world. If you’re a true wine connoisseur you can identify a type of wine just by looking at the bottle’s shape. Even if you’re not that skilled at distinguishing them, for sure you’ve heard or tasted the type of wines that these bottles most commonly contain.

Specialized winemakers follow the traditions of their region when it comes to bottling their wine. If you want to keep in tune with it, read more on the local winemaking customs when creating your own wine labels.

  • Alsace or Mosel bottle – Most famous for housing Riesling, but it’s a common dessert wine bottle - 4.5” maximum height
  • Bordeaux – The most common bottle size. Typically used on Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and white wines like Sauvignon Blanc - 6.5” maximum height
  • Burgundy – Commonly used for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay - 4.5” maximum height
  • Rhone – Used for Syrah and Grenache. It might look like the Burgundy, but the circumference is different - 4.5” maximum height
  • Champagne – One of the smaller labels on our list. The bottle is shaped this way because of all the pressure the bottle needs to contain - 4” maximum height
  • Mini wine bottle - not an official bottle shape, but worth mentioning - 3 " maximum height

Let’s dive deep into all these bottle types, shall we?

Alsace bottle shape

Recommended sizes:

  • 3,5 inches x 4 inches
  • 4 inches x 4 inches

This bottle shape came into existence after Bordeaux. It was originally created for storing Riesling, but the bottle often now also carries Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Blanc.

These bottles have a more delicate shape than their Burgundy and Bordeaux counterparts and they have a very distinct elongated silhouette. For anyone curious why, it’s because they were transported on the Rhine river. So they needed to be more slender in order to fit the smaller storage space. But also, they did not have to be overly sturdy because their voyage on the river was considerably less rocky than at sea.

We recommend a wine label design no taller than 4 inches.

Bordeaux bottle shape

Recommended sizes:

  • 3.5 inches x 4 inches
  • 4 inches x 4 inches
  • 5 inches x 5 inches
  • 4 inches x 6 inches

This is the most common type of wine bottle in the world, and it’s housing the two most popular red wines - the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

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The most distinctive element of this shape is its shoulders. There’s no proven explanation as to why this is, but it is widely considered the design was just a way to make the bottle stand out. Especially from its close cousin, the Burgundy bottle.

This is a very versatile bottle in terms of the choice of your wine label. You can use a design as tall as 6 inches, but it will also look good with something more subtle. It’s up to you!

Burgundy bottle shape

Recommended label sizes:

  • 3.5 inches x 4 inches
  • 4 inches x 4 inches

This is the first wine bottle to become famous. It was invented sometime in the 19th century, so if you enjoy history with your wine this is an excellent choice.

The distinctive curved shape may have developed simply because it was easier for the glassmakers to produce. It first started with the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but the bottle is also commonly housing other wines such as Nebbiolo, Gamay, and Etna Rosso.

These bottles tend to be more stout than others so a label no higher than 4 ½ inches would fit it perfectly. The recommended wine label sizes are the usual 3,5” x 4” or 4” x 4”, but you have a bit of freedom too.

Rhône bottle shape

Recommended label size:

  • 3.5 inches x 4 inches
  • 4 inches x 4 inches

Now that we know our bottles you might recognize that the Rhone shape looks very similar to the Burgundy. Just a bit longer and with more angular sloping shoulders.

This style bottle is used for Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. If the bottle is green, it’s a red, but if it is clear, then it will house roses or whites.

Very similar to the Burgundy, the label should not be taller than 4.5 inches, so 3,5” x 4” or a square label that is 4” x 4” will work great!

Champagne or sparkling wine bottle shape

  • Recommended label size: 4 x 4

This olive-green bottle sparks fun memories for most of us.

As opposed to the Alsatian shape, this bottle’s design is based on technical necessities as opposed to style. It’s made of very thick glass, with gently sloping shoulders in order to hold in all that pressure. Fun fact: the pressure inside a champagne bottle is 3 times higher than inside a typical tire! Back in the early days of Champagne making, bottles used to explode while being transported. Thanks to the improved bottle design, this (thankfully) no longer holds true.

Because of its unique silhouette, make sure not to create a label that is taller than 4 inches. Unlike standard wine labels, you can even opt for an oval-shaped design. But since champagne bottles tend to have more irregular shapes and curvatures, it’s really key that you check the bottle first before you start designing.

Wine labels for mini-wines

  • Recommended label size: 2 inches x 3 inches, 3 inches x 2 inches, 3 inches x 3 inches

These make for excellent party favors! Rectangular or oval, printed in portrait or landscape, making your own custom mini wine bottles is great fun. Don't go bigger than 3 inches in either direction and your label will look great.

Producing your labels

First step: design. As with any printable media, designing with vectors is a must. Vectors are high-quality no matter the resolution, and they can be edited infinitely and effortlessly as the creative process evolves. Plus, with vectors, you can even design your own unique font.

After you've designed your custom wine label, it's time to choose the type of label that best suits your needs. You can choose between cut-to-size or roll labels. Cut-to-size labels come in individual pieces that you need to apply one by one. If you're labeling anything under 100 bottles this should not take more than a few hours. But if you are a more prolific winemaker, roll labels are the way to go. For both these options, you can choose your label material to be matte, glossy, or textured.

And if you're making just a handful of labels for a small party or for your significant other, you can simply remove the label from your favorite wine bottle. Then print your label design at home with your inkjet printer, or go to a shop that will turn your design directly into a sticker. Then apply your fancy new label where the old one used to be. Done!

So now that you know the size of your label, it’s time to start creating. We have some useful wine bottle label templates for you ready to be used in Linearity Curve. And yes, we are a vector design software, which makes us a one-stop-shop for all your wine label needs!

Jumpstart your ideas with Linearity Curve

Take your designs to the next level.