A trio of unconventionals

Posted on June 05, 2017

In today’s competitive market environment it’s all about what will help it sell. In the process of this fierce and design-driven war, it’s more often the packaging that really needs to impress.  If we were to really think about how we go about choosing one product over the other, what has been the dominant factor in this process of choice? Packaging.

With this in mind we decided to have a closer look at some wine labels that didn’t just add a little flair, or step ever so slightly out of the “ordinary” box, instead we looked for those who completely demolished the boundaries of “conventional” entirely!

So who were our culprits?

Hazendal Wine Estate certainly blew our socks off with their latest new release, a very attractive (perhaps even entertaining) range by the name of Chistoffel Hazenwinkel! If you think the name’s a mouthful, wait until you see this label!

There’s a tremendous history to the Hazendal Estate and this formed the foundation of their latest genius design when creating their new label. Not only did they name the wine in honour of the first man that owned Hazendal Estate back in 1699, (Christoffel Hazenwinkel) but they created the most magical – slightly eccentric, life-size character to imitate the part of Christoffel . Christoffel aptly named the estate Hazendal (German for “valley of the hares”) when he discovered the vast population of Cape Hares on the farm – that and perhaps also the fact that his surname had the same prefix.

The creative team at Hazendal, together with a fleet of artists and photographers constructed and pictured Christoffel as a 17th century life-size man-hare (yes a rabbit) with full period dress code and all!  This magical figure features boldly on the new range and is seen posed in full-colour photographic sets, both in serious and humorous stances.

This label itself is seriously far from the norm in! An almost full-bottle label, wrapped from beneath the bottle neck to the base and practically right around the bottle as well. Although the images provoke ideas of fantasy, fairytales and a mad-hatter-style dark humour, the quality of the paper used as well as the image value is obvious – giving you an undoubted impression of a high quality product. 

          Christoffelhazenwinkelwinerange003.jpg#asset:51       CH007.jpg#asset:53

We are quite convinced that this will not be the last time you hear about this phenomenal label – since the release of this range, only a few months ago, Hazendal has already bagged a Gold award for “Wine in a Series” at the 2017 Wine Label Design Awards! Wow.

Hazendal Wine Estate is currently closed to the public as they are in the process of major renovations to practically the entire estate. So best you keep your eyes on them – it’s going to be something out of this world when they’re done! (excuse the pun!) 

Our next naughty child to the principal’s office is none other than “Dirty little Secret” by Ken Forrester Wines. Of course we love a naughty connotation, who doesn’t? but this label is a little more than just that. 100% Chenin Blanc – unfiltered and unfined – just like a dirty little secret they say! Produced from carefully selected old bush vines in the Piekenierskloof, planted in 1965 this Chenin is something truly extraordinary – and hence you’d either stow it away (and keep the secret for a while) or come out with it with unrelented arrogance!  It is a rather pricey little purchase perhaps, but this is a sophisticated wine and definitely created for the more seasoned palates among us.

This label is entirely unusual in that it’s beautifully decorative and delicate artwork almost hides the name set dead centre of it!  Yes, that may well be an a-typical profile aspect of secret affairs, guilty pleasures and so on, but the fact that you miss it on first glance is exactly why you love it when you see it!  The black and silver label adorns the dark glass bottle with a bright yellow wax neck sleeve – a stunningly impressive work of art indeed!

It also goes to be a tad further unconventional in that there is not much written on the front label, other than the title, “Dirty little Secret” and beneath that the word “ONE”... provoking the perfect result, since it instantly leaves you guessing!


The 3rd accomplice...  By now most of us have seen some of the rather interesting Grape Grinder wines dotted along most wine shop shelves - and it’s no wonder we’ve noticed, because their labels have the knee-jerk ability to jump out at you and tickle your fancy!  Although all their wine ranges appear to have a subtle element of being different, it is the original Grinder series that we are referring to – and its difference is far less subtle!

The Grape Grinder Wine Company was established only as recently as 2010. In fact their first wine was the Grinder Pinotage – one we’ve all fallen for at some stage. With the start of their empire, their express intention was to demonstrate to both national and international wine lovers the creative talents, both in design as well as winemaking present right here in our South African wine industry. Located in the picturesque town of Paarl, just outside Cape Town, the Grape Grinder Winery was established by two friends, Oliver Kirsten and Johan Du Toit.

What is it about these labels that just can’t help grabbing your attention? The fact they’re different is obvious, but in our opinion, they’re bold, tastefully daring and contain a fair element of old-fashioned kitchen kitsch! (She sells sea shells... never mind) But in all fairness, their artwork is light-hearted and contains some form of connection with fashion trends and colour schemes alike.


Impressively, it doesn’t end there. Often packaging can be more about the cover-up for a less impressive wine, but in all of the above cases, none of these wines are short of an accolade inventory! Well done!


CHEERS! -  And here’s to more crazy, unconventional labels!

Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you!