2019 Label Contest Winners

They say “it’s what’s inside that counts the most.” Sure, what’s inside is the most important part, but that doesn’t mean what’s on the outside of your wine bottle doesn’t count for something. The fact is, when wine is shared with friends and family, the label will be judged before the wine. That first impression can have a profound impact on others’ perception of your wine. And when sitting around a table enjoying a bottle of vino, that half-filled bottle often sits on the table at the center of the conversation, and if the label is intriguing, it may even carry the conversation.

So, if we can all agree that labels are important for improving the experience of drinking (and making) wine, then the question is, “What makes a great wine label?” Well, we at WineMaker have been judging label entries for our annual competition for the last 19 years and have seldom had consensus among us about which label is most deserving of the top prize. Stylistic and easy-to-read fonts, images that are clear, unique, and related to the wine inside the bottle, and bad puns all get props. But, when it comes to what about a label speaks to an individual, it’s often different from person to person. Which made this year unique, in that the decision was unanimous among everyone around the table when selecting the Grand Champion label from Jake Flaherty. The label is fun, personal, tells a story about the winemakers, and is visually appealing. However, after picking the top winner we had our work cut out for us selecting the best among a crowded field of entrants that was larger than any contest in recent memory. After we were done selecting our favorites, we let our social media followers finish the judging by selecting their favorite for the Reader’s Choice award.

This competition wouldn’t  be the success it is every year if it weren’t for all of the winemakers who send us their labels, as well as the sponsors who generously donate prizes for the winners.  To all of you, we owe a huge Thank You!


Jake Flaherty
Albany, California


Michael Bachleda
Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania


Becky Nohava
Bozeman, Montana


Michael Life
Junction City, Kansas

Readers Choice

Thom Harding
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Honerable Mention

Bob Joakimson
Concord, California

Byron Barnes
San Antonio, Texas

Chris Piantek
Middletown, Connecticut

Cody Shive
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Dave Sienknecht
San Jose, California

David & Cyndee Milam
Danville, California

David Noone
San Ysidro, California

Dean Scott
Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Gail Sacharczuk
Holland, Pennsylvania

Jeremy Burdick
Massillon, Ohio

Kathy Dunn
Boston, Virginia

Larry Roux
North Syracuse, New York

Robert Adams MD
Carmel, California

Ronald Marvin
Bakersfield, California

Steve Perkins
Santa Rosa, California