Skip to main content My Account Off-Campus Access Give 24/7 Chat Meet with a Librarian Directory Library Services Technical Support Submit a Digital Sign Give Newsletters Social Media

Wine Labels in Archives and Special Collections

The art of wine labels

The Archives and Special Collections Department at the UC Davis Library holds a vast number of historical wine labels from around the world. It is also the official repository for the records of the UCD Viticulture and Enology Department, which date back to 1907. These resources can inspire storytelling through design by providing historical background, visual history, and examples of changes to wine label design over time. Take advantage of these materials to inspire your winning design for the Wine Label Design Contest!

For more information on how to request and access the collections listed below, please visit the Archives and Special Collections website.

Contact Audrey Russek, Food and Wine Archivist, with questions about other materials in Archives and Special Collections that can inform your label design. 

Inside the Collections

Maynard Amerine Digitized Wine Label Collection

Includes labels from domestic and foreign wines and spirits. Most labels date between 1874-1969, though some date as late as 1992. The collection is representative of the wines Maynard Amerine preferred and had access to, and thus is heavy in California wines as well as an Amerine favorite — French wines. Amerine pasted the labels into black spiral-bound notebooks, organized by region (usually country), divided into red or white, and in some cases further divided into sub-regions or ‘appellations.’ The complete finding aid for Maynard Amerine Papers is available at The Online Archive of California.

Wine Institute Records on the American Wine Industry D-242

Wine Labels 1962-1974

Scope and Contents: Wine and brandy labels from the United States, Europe, and other wine-growing countries.

John McConnell Wine Label MC-009

Wine labels with notes about the character of each wine.

Jeanbin Collection of Wine Label Art D-627

Imprimerie Jeanbin was a French printing company in operation from 1840-1962. The collection includes artwork created in the design and production of French wine labels, as well as printed wine labels, menus, wine lists, and brochures related to Imprimerie Jeanbin. Also included in the collection are labels for other beverages as well as label designs and press proofs for cigarettes (Gauloises), a liquor store in Guadalupe, wine shop brochures, and several unidentified images.

Alan Corneretto Wine Label Collection D-460

An estimated 30,000 wine labels predominately from France, Germany, Italy, and California. Alan Corneretto collected throughout his lifetime with the bulk of the labels spanning the years from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Juan Fried Wine Label Collection D-564

The collection contains an estimated 50,000 wine labels. Included are extensive labels from Europe (France, Italy, and Spain) as well as from the United States. They are arranged in binders by country and region. The labels range in date from circa 1928-2007.

Department of Viticulture and Enology Wine Label Collection AR-191

This collection, assembled by the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology Department from the 1970s to the early 1990s, contains wine labels from United States wineries from circa 1947-1990. Wine labels from other countries such as Australia, France, Germany, and South Africa are also included.

Roy Brady Collection D-202

Collection includes wine labels, buyers’ guides, bibliographies, directories, wine lists, menus, antiquarian booksellers’ catalogs. It consists mostly of wine catalogs, some of which date back to 1835, and wine labels (over 50,000) with vintages back to 1790. It also includes notes on wines, and the people and events surrounding the wine industry.

René Rondeau Wine Label and Menu Collection D-620

René Rondeau was manager and vice president of Draper & Esquin Wine Merchants in San Francisco, California. The collection includes wine labels and promotional cards from French, German, and California wineries, including a substantial set of labels from Château Haut-Brion and related wineries. Also present in the collection are dinner menus, research files, auction catalogs, and a small amount of realia.

Box 1. Wine Labels and Promotional Cards

Roger Boulton Beverage Label Album MC138

Large-format album of wine, beer, spirits, and soft drink labels.

Leon David Adams Papers D-304

Bureau Chief, McClatchy Newspapers, San Francisco (1928-1935); organized and led the Wine Institute (1938-1954) and the Wine Advancement Board (1938-1954); author of The commonsense book of wine (1958), The commonsense book of drinking (1960), and The wines of America (1973).

Alan & Fannie Leslie Collection D-381

Collection of wine labels from U.S., Europe, Eastern Europe, and Middle East.

Other Collections of Interest

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Wine Label Applications D-127 

Wine labels and label permit applications submitted by domestic dealers, wineries, or importers to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms for approval. Information required on the label includes winery or distillery name, location, type of beverage, content, name of importer or distributor, and in the case of wines, vintage year.

Frederic T. Bioletti Papers D-363

The Frederic T. Bioletti Papers document the work of University of California professor Frederic Bioletti’s pioneering work in grape-growing and wine-making practices in California. The collection includes correspondence, research material, publications by Bioletti, and extensive set of publications by others on a variety of agricultural topics, a small series of specimen photographs, and papers pertaining to the University Farm and the creation of Viticulture Department in Davis.

He was also an assistant to noted soil scientist Professor E.W. Hilgard. While working with Hilgard, Bioletti studied the fermentation of wines under a variety of conditions. The results of his experiments aided California vintners in refining their wine production practices and improving the resulting wines.

Department of Viticulture and Enology Records AR-059

On April 15, 1880, the California Legislature enacted Assembly Bill 374 providing for the special instruction “pertaining to Viticulture and the theory and practice of fermentation, distillation and rectification, and the management of cellars” in the University of California, Berkeley Department of Agriculture. The Department of Viticulture and Enology was established on the Davis campus in 1935 following the repeal of prohibition. The records contain correspondence, budget and expense files, travel receipts, construction and repair requisitions, meeting minutes (department, division, staff, and committee), building plans, class materials, research projects and grants, vineyard reports, extension reports, and photographs. The collection materials date from 1907-2006 with the bulk from 1913-1973.

Ampelograhy: Harring, William. Grapes and Grape Vines of California. San Francisco: E. Bosqui, 1877. Print. Oversize ; SB389.5.C3 C55