The Iconic Labels And Bottles




Some wine branding can go decades without any material change and some change for every wine and every vintage.  Many collectors look to complete a full set almost strictly on the packaging and the sustained values will explain why.


Take Chateau Mouton Rothschild.  Mouton is well known for commissioning a different artist every year for the label of their highly sought after wine.  Since the famous Victory label in 1945, artists have included Chagall, Picasso, Dali, and even Prince Charles. 


Many clients of ours have looked to complete the entire set and will scour the earth for the single vintage that may be missing to complete their collections, regardless of the quality of the wine.  We had one client looking for many years for the 1965 Mouton even though esteemed critic Robert Parker gave it his lowest rating and was quoted as saying, “The odor of rotten garbage, stale mushrooms, and stewed fruit is appalling.  Because of its educational value I was willing to put this wine in my mouth.  I just had to see what might be there given the frightful smell.”  Not exactly a raving endorsement for the wine that still sells for thousands of dollars a bottle if you can find one.


One of the other most sought after Mouton vintages is the 1983 which has a sketch of a naked child by the painter Balthus.  Considered too controversial for the U. S. market it was not allowed to be imported.  Mouton replaced it with a blank label for the U. S. and now many collectors seek out both labels to consider their vertical complete.


In the U. S. there is a California cult wine known as Sine Qua Non, founded in 1994.  Year after year, no wine is ever the same blend but also no name and no label are ever used twice.  In many cases, even the bottle shape varies year to year.  This is an incredibly difficult wine to obtain and is always 100% sold out through a mailing list with only up to a 10-year wait to get on for limited purchasing opportunities.  While the wine consistently rates within the highest tier of California wines, the uniqueness and collectability of the packaging certainly adds value with wines given names such as the 2003 Boots, Pasties, Scanty Panties and a Ten Gallon Hat, 2009 This is Not An Exit Grenache and 2005 The 17th Nail in My Cranium.


So even though what’s inside the bottle is what really counts, don’t underestimate the value of the outside when it comes to wine as an investment.



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