Skip to content

Wine Packaging: The Complete Guide

Time to read 13 min

We see this a lot: simple, non-custom Wine Packaging that gets the job done. How can you expect to hit your sales target if you don't invest in your presentation?

You have a great product, but you left out one thing—your Packaging! Wine Packaging is a great way to grab your customers' attention at retail and online. It's easy for most brands to overlook, but this is exactly the issue we aim to solve.

The wine bottle's ubiquitous presence at dinners, gatherings, and parties worldwide has made the industry a force to be reckoned with. But it's also a fiercely competitive arena, with every business striving for that next advantage. This is where your packaging can make all the difference, setting you apart from the rest.

Design is everything in Wine Packaging. Whether you want to be minimal, colorful, or classic, you need a talented team.

It can be your differentiator! The reason a customer picks your bottle instead of another. To nail that customer interaction, you need the right design.

We help upgrade brands from plain to premium and take advantage of all the latest technical and marketing innovations to create new designs and, more importantly, increase sales.

Don't worry about the challenges of bringing new packaging ideas to life. We've got your back with our comprehensive guide, designed to walk you through each step of the process.

Talk with our team today about your next Wine Packaging Project

How Custom Packaging Helps Your Product

  • Protect your products during shipping
  • Tell your brand story and connect with your customer
  • Include product benefits and valuable information
  • Stand out to a consumer to increase their consideration
  • Encourage customers to take a closer look

Step 1: Determine Your Wine Packaging Needs

  • What type of Packaging do I need?
  • Are there new innovations I can implement?
  • How many units do I need?
  • How can this be an extension of my brand?
  • Are you shipping DTC through an e-Commerce store?
  • Are you selling at Retail / Club Stores?
  • How many product / package variations do you need?

Step 2: Establish Your Budget

There are two types of costs associated with new packaging.

  1. Visible costs: such as the upfront cost of design and the packaging price.
  2. Hidden costs: include additional filler, breakage, and more.

Your budget should include the cost of Packaging Supplies and Shipping Boxes. If any packaging fillers are required, you need to account for them.

Consider engaging a Contract Packager to help with fulfillment or assembly. This can be a strategic move to streamline your operations and potentially reduce your overall packaging costs.

By partnering with a company like Bennett, you gain access to Turnkey Solutions that can help you minimize costs and improve operational efficiency. This can be a smart move to optimize your packaging budget. 

A successful Wine Packaging program needs a budget that considers the economics of the entire process. You should consider your product's price, profit margin, anticipated sales, and the length of time you expect your Packaging to be in place.

Setting a budget or at least a range for your Packaging helps the process not become inefficient or aimless.

The higher the sales price of your product, the more you should consider investing in your Wine Packaging.

Volume purchasing

As with most printed products, good value is only really obtained at high purchase quantities due to the economics of scale.

If you don’t buy in bulk, each package will add an unreasonable amount of expense to each shipment.

It's true that volume purchasing requires a larger upfront investment for production, storage, transportation, and handling. However, the digital platform offers complete flexibility in managing these costs, making it a smart long-term strategy.

Step 3: Assess The Competition

Because of the industry's competition, you need to ensure that your choices stand out in a lineup.

It’s definitely become a growing challenge over the years to penetrate the market - but it can still be done!

What they don’t have is the chance to design with the latest innovations, taking opportunities to connect with their customers in completely new ways and actually creating a new level of customer loyalty.

Step 4: Designing Your Wine Packaging

Designing can be a fun process. Whether you tackle it yourself or work with our Creative Services team, you need to consider critical aspects of your wine and your customer.

Did you know that 75% of consumers are influenced by package design?

  • What style of wine are you selling?
  • Who is your target customer?
  • How / where are they buying it?
  • Are you selling a Wine Bottle / Can / Bag In A Box?

Next, let’s dig into what you need to include.

  • Tell them about your vineyard/winery.
  • What style of wine is it?
  • Information about your wine (Name/flavor / ABV).

Related: How To Find A Corrugated Box Manufacturer

Now, let’s talk about the more brand-focused elements.

  • Show your personality and brand voice
  • Tell your brewery story with some stellar copywriting
  • Use the Billboard Effect: multiple packages together become an eye-catching wall
  • Double down on eco-friendly packaging/elements

We’re thirsty for a good story. Authenticity, community, and sustainability are the best keywords to get you started.

  • Graphics need to be memorable, distinct, easily recognizable, and with easily identifiable shapes
  • Choose a color palette that fits your label and brand
  • Be prepared to go through a few iterations - it takes time to land on the “right choice.”
  • Include time to do some market testing with your packaging and labels

Shipping DTC with an e-Commerce store

There are over 90,000 searches for unboxing videos every year. Your winery can make a customer smile in plenty of ways that don’t involve a box. Include a handwritten note, coupon, special offer, or even a small gift.

Create a complete kit that complements your wine. Smaller items usually add little to shipment costs if implemented correctly.

Last, here are a few things to watch out for during a new packaging design.

Brand consistency usually requires several design attempts. If you are shipping DTC, you likely don’t have just one size of box.

Depending on what you offer through your eCommerce store and/or wine club, you'll need an industrial designer to create 2-pack, 4-pack, 6-pack, 9-pack, 12-pack, and DTC shipping cartons.

Pro Tip: If you’re not a designer and don’t have a design team, we provide access to our award-winning in-house team in Creative Services.

Step 5: Use New Packaging + Marketing Innovations

  • QR codes that, when scanned, tell consumers expiration dates and other wine or brand details.
  • Double insulation within the wine bottle keeps your wine cooler and can diminish the need for refrigeration of an opened bottle.
  • Flatter or recyclable bottle designs and more flexible packaging is revolutionizing wine packaging boxes.
  • Digitized printing allows for more customization and customer personalization.
  • Eco-friendly packaging.

Step 6: Consider A Set of Wine Packaging

Mother Carton

A mother carton is a large container that holds standard 12-ounce bottles and larger options like 22-ounce bottles. It is designed to hold four six-packs and features a very strong construction. The carton not only supports weight but also protects the bottles during shipping.

Built from a sturdy paperboard, a mother carton can be enhanced with graphics to match your craft brewery’s branding using a variety of printing styles—more on those later. 

Wine Carrier/Tote

Creating a Wine carrier for large or smaller bottles is a great way to encourage multiple purchases for someone wanting to “taste test” a few options.

This is an excellent opportunity to create another branded experience for your customer - something that hasn’t been available to wineries in the past.

  • 6, 8, 12 pack-containers
  • 4 6-pack paperboard carriers

Fully Custom Wine Packaging

While items like mother cartons, trays, and other carriers dominate the market, if you want to stand out, you need custom packaging! One of our trained team members can custom-design and manufacture virtually any container.

Here are a few scenarios that custom packaging could solve:

At Bennett, we can help you design attractive packaging that keeps your wine secure. This includes openings with a die-cut, unique shapes, and more.

Add A Retail Display

Take your campaign and promotion to the next level with a custom-designed display. Put your wine in high-traffic areas and get right in front of your customer.

This is a chance to get away from where your competition is and instead get their full attention.

Step 7: Choose a Printing Style

Choosing a printing option is more than simply evaluating cost factors. Technology has changed over the years, and while some older methods are still proven and effective, newer methods have introduced entirely new ways to attack the marketplace.

Here are three printing options to consider:

Lithography Printing

Lithographic printing is the most used solution for commercial printing needs. It’s great if you create a single design to print over and over without much customization.

One of the main issues is the upfront costs for the printing plate and the lead time for the project.

If you choose Litho, you’re committing to waiting and spending a portion of your budget before you even get your first box.

This is the way to go if you want a high-volume production run of a single design.

High-Speed Digital Printing

Bennett's digital presses are game-changing for the custom retail packaging industry.

While other companies might tell you that Digital isn’t competitive when running large orders, what they aren’t telling you is that with Digital, you can run a variety of designs without needing to pay for or wait for new printing plates to be made.

Digital has been growing in the industry, but only a few brands have actually started to take advantage of this enormous opportunity.

Imagine creating regional messaging, designs for different stores, and seasonal or product variation sizes—all without additional costs.

We were the first to invest in a high-speed, single-pass, direct-to-corrugate, 6-color digital press of its kind in North America. To learn more, check out our page on Digital.

Flexography Printing

Flexographic printing will bring your printing costs down, and tooling costs are typically lower. It has a fast turnaround time and can use both water-based and oil-based inks.

But, compared to Lithography and Digital, Flexography has a noticeably lower printing quality.

It cannot create photo-quality images; smooth colors or gradients will have visible banding. 

The colors aren’t as vibrant or crisp as the other two options, but this printing format is inexpensive. It also doesn’t require much attention to detail and can be produced at very high speed.

Related: Printing Coating Options

Designing With Digital

Digital printing will take your Wine Packaging to the next level:

Color Science

All designers know that each color speaks to the customer on a different emotional level. Why not use that knowledge on the store floor? Here's an actual opportunity to put that knowledge into practice and create something that powerfully matches your brand. 

Match Your Brand Colors

Most manufacturers claim they will accurately match your brand colors, but they're not equipped to do that. We have some of the best printing capabilities in North America and promise we can actually match with 100% accuracy. 

Customer Innovations

You can include QR codes for customer coupons or marketing campaigns, regional or seasonal messaging, and many other options now available.

Related10 Tips To Make Your Packaging More Sustainable.

Step 8: Creating a Dieline

Now that you have your design, it’s time to transfer it to the structure template, a.k.a, the dieline.

Your designated designer needs to note a few dieline and artwork preparation and requirements even if your artwork is done and ready to go.

If you do not have a designer, your packaging company will take care of this.


A dieline is typically created on a computer using a design tool such as Adobe Illustrator, Artioscad, or InDesign. Measurements need to be precise to save time and money.

Step 9: Preparing The Artwork

Working with your packaging partner, you will deliver high-resolution artwork for printing. It’s best to speak directly to the company you are working with to determine the exact specifications for their CMYK printing.

At Bennett, we offer access to our award-winning Creative Services to help you design, prep, and deliver all your artwork to our manufacturing teams and ensure your project details are correct every step of the way.

Pro Tip: Need more clarification on preparing your artwork? Contact Bennett if you need help with any of your designs!

Step 10: Creating Prototype Wine Packaging

Firstly, it allows winemakers to visually assess the aesthetics and functionality of their packaging design before mass production, ensuring it aligns with branding and consumer appeal. Prototyping also enables experimentation with materials, shapes, and features, facilitating innovation and differentiation in a competitive market.

Additionally, prototypes serve as valuable tools for gathering feedback from stakeholders, including distributors, retailers, and consumers, helping refine the packaging for optimal performance and customer satisfaction. Overall, investing in prototype wine packaging enhances product presentation, market readiness, and, ultimately, the success of the wine brand.

Key Things To Keep Track Of

Track whether you have enough packaging to meet demand. It’s crucial to keep a tight inventory of the packaging at your fulfillment center and whether it is enough to meet the season's demands.

Did you ever run out and have to purchase more? Did that incur any delays and costs?

Did you have a surplus? Was it of only specific sizes?

Try to keep track of packaging inventory levels that are in line with demand.

Record breakage

Were your shipments kept safe? This is the priority for any fulfillment center. You should set a tolerance level for the amount of breakage you can absorb, then track whether you are meeting that goal.

If you aren’t, you should consider adding more packaging filler or using a different carrier.

Shipping Deals

Wineries encourage eCommerce sales by offering shipping deals, including free shipping. Formulate a strategy for structuring your shipping deals, then track the process.

Consider Regulations

There are laws restricting certain kinds of deals. California’s ABC states, "No free goods or premiums may be provided in connection with the marketing and sale of alcoholic beverages.” So, know the rules first!

Choosing A Carrier

The impression your wine packaging makes on your consumer is just a tiny piece of the overall delivery experience. Select the best carrier to deliver an optimal “final mile” experience!

Ice Pack shipping

Summer shipping may need to include the use of ice packs. Ice packs cannot be simply added to an existing shipper and be effective. This will require you to create an entirely different package type, costing you more money, adding the cost of the ice packs and potentially the new dimensional weight.

ISTA Testing For Wine Packaging

International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) testing helps brands create packaging that protects against shock, vibration, compression, and other atmospheric hazards in the distribution environment.

This allows you to eliminate the need for multiple trial shipments, get your products to market faster, and ensure their survival.

It can also help you negotiate lower freight and cargo insurance rates - due to the confirmed lower risk of shipment damage.

We conduct a range of shipping tests (vibration, drop test, etc.) so that you are certified and ready to go. We partner with you through the entire process and ensure there aren’t any surprises; if there are, we are prepared to solve them.

If packaging is not tested and approved by the carriers in advance, they will not pay any damage claims. Without approval, it may also put your other approved packages at risk.

Bennett Makes Wine Packaging

Bennett is a premier packaging and retail displays manufacturing company striving to protect and promote our clients' products with customized corrugated solutions. When you work with us, you’re part of the family. We will partner with you every step of the way.

With our fully-integrated design-to-delivery process, we can be the single supplier source. We are an award-winning manufacturer of virtually anything corrugate. We offer everything from plain brown shipping boxes to sophisticated, high-graphic printed point-of-purchase displays, and everything in between.

Talk with our team today about your next Wine Packaging Project

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Wine Packaging?

Wine Packaging is designed to enhance a brand and give a customer an experience. It incorporates your business’s logo, brand colors, copy, and message on the outside of the packaging. This helps your brand stand out in stores and encourages brand loyalty.

Where can I order wine packaging boxes?

Bennett offers a wide variety of wine packaging boxes, including folding cartons, mailing boxes, and shipping boxes. No matter what kind of product or box you have, we can make it. Just contact us, and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

What Printing Styles do you offer?

We produce Litho and Flexo and specialize in Digital printing. We were one of the first manufacturers to invest in Digital Printing, and that’s put us ahead of the curve. Typically, customers think Digital printing is only useful for small runs, but Digital allows you to create printing variations and multiple runs of different targeted designs—using some of the latest innovations in marketing!

What Wine Packaging do you offer?

Custom bottle labels - Shipping boxes - Mother cartons - Corrugated Trays (printed + plain) - 6, 8, 12 pack containers - 4, 6 pack paperboard carriers - POP Retail Displays - Subscription service boxes - Eco-Friendly Packaging