Wine Label Awards: And The Winners Are…


Do you sometimes find yourself in the wine section of your supermarket, pondering all the options with a thousand-aisle stare? If so, you would probably appreciate any help you can get. Enter the Wine Label Awards.

Looking outside the conventional metrics of sweetness, acidity, tannin, alcohol and body the Wine Label Awards aims to help you impress your dinner guests with what’s both in and outside the bottle.

To help make your wine shopping just a little bit easier we give you the winners of the 2019 Wine Label Awards.

Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2018

SILVER: Single wine over R80

Winemaker Berene Sauls was born in Tesselaarsdal between the valley and Caledon, and the illustration, beautifully executed by Simone Hodgskiss of Pearly Yon, depicts the actual village.

She even snuck in two figures to symbolise her mother and grandmother who used to hike over the mountain to Stanford to visit friends.

CL Oldenburg

<CL˚: Red Blend 2017, White Blend 2018 (Oldenburg Vineyards)

BRONZE: Wine in a series

Winemaker Nic van Aarde and the Whitespace Creative team have created a cheeky new brand.

The farm is in the Banhoek Valley at a higher elevation (and colder than) than the rest of Stellenbosch (CL: vehicle registration).

So, starting with the mathematical “less than” sign into account, the label actually reads “Cooler than Stellenbosch”.

Ben Wren Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc 2018 3L

GOLD: Single wine under R80 a bottle

Ben Wren wines are sourced from small production vineyards, so they are more “boutique” than your average papsak.

The Butcher’s Shop design studio nailed the brief: “totally embrace the box to create something that is as proud to be at your picnic as it is to feature at your dinner table.”

Simonstig Steen

Simonsig Steen “50” 2017

GOLD: Single wine over R80 a bottle

2017 was the 50th consecutive vintage of chenin blanc at Simonsig, and to complement Johan Malan’s extraordinary tribute wine, ALDC studios were tasked to pay homage to Simonsig’s first bottling back in 1968.

This beautiful retro package is only available in sleek, knee-high magnums (1,5-litre bottles).


Plaisir de Merle Signature Blend 2012

GOLD: Single wine over R500 a bottle

When a cellar master like Niel Bester shares his flagship red blend with the world at a premium price, you would expect appropriate packaging.

The main element is an interwoven symbol comprising the winemaker’s signature and gold-foiled fingerprint – literally “leaving his mark” – and everything speaks of class, from the black wax closure to the white Wibalin presentation box.

Orpheus & The Raven

The Vinoneers, Orpheus & The Raven: Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2017, The Swansong Gewürztraminer 2016, No. 42 2017

GOLD: Wine labels in a series

Their chenin also won gold as a single wine and the No. 42 won the Grand Prix award last year, but the judges felt the series as a whole deserved highest honours for 2019.

The Vinoneers is a tailor-made partnership between a celebrated winemaker, Altydgedacht’s Etienne Louw (a.k.a. Orpheus), and Brenden Schwartz (the Raven) of Bravo Design. The hand-drawn label illustrations were inspired by the etchings of Albrecht Dürer.

Shultz Fam Wines

Schultz Family Wines: Dungeons Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Pepper Street Syrah 2017, Skeleton Bay Chenin Blanc 2018

GOLD: Wine labels in a series

Winemaker Rudi Schultz and his brothers grew up surfing Strand and Kogel Bay every day after school.

Which is why these beautiful labels by Janneman Solms portray where some of the best waves on the planet break: Pepper Street in Jeffrey’s Bay (a nod to the spicy notes in shiraz), Dungeons off Hout Bay (for a massive cabernet sauvignon from Stellenbosch) and the ice cold waves in Skeleton Bay (perfect for the chenin).

The Wine Thief

The Wine Thief: Cape White Blend 2017, Chardonnay 2016, Chenin Blanc 2013, Pinot Noir 2014, Roussanne 2017

GOLD: Wine labels in a Series & The Grand Prix Award 2019

The big winner on the night comes from a “sommelier-at-large”, who collaborates with winemakers across the Western Cape to create limited-release, small batches of excellence.

And sometimes that means Ewan Mackenzie has to “steal” a barrel of something special from their cellars.

He challenged Studio Collective to capture his life-long obsession with maps and allow for multiple variations. So, it is just the colour scheme and corresponding foil tone that changes each time.

And the abstract design is actually three different 1948 Ordinance Survey maps overlaid on top of each other: the contour lines of the Slanghoek Valley, the river systems of Bot River, and, in foil, the farm lines of the Paardeberg, all of which are close to Ewan’s heart.

Words by Brandon de Kock



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