Early collectors, such as Dr N. Penzer suggested 20 categories for labels.
The Wine Label Circle, which is a collecting club for those interested in wine and sauce labels, reclassifies the categories, dividing the types of labels into 23 different categories in their authoritative book, Wine Labels:1730-2003, a worldwide history.
These categories are helpful for the majority of labels, although there will always be exceptions that will fit in to two or more.
The 23 categories listed are:
- Stars and Buttons
- Sun in Splendour
- Bottle Collars and Neck Rings
- Single Letters and Cut-out Words
- Bacchic Revellers
- The Balloon Label
- Vine and Other Leaves
- Military and Navel
Of these various types of labels, the most commonly occurring are Escutcheons, Rectangles, Crescents, Single Letters and Vine Leaves.