As early as 6,000 years ago, the Sumerians in Mesopotamia used roller seals for labelling wine vessels. These were two to eight centimetre long and two centimetre thick cylinders of stone. The inscription or pictures contained on them could be rolled off on soft clay. This was mainly information about the origin of the wine contained. The Greeks and Romans used to hang small signs with information on the amphorae or carved information directly into the amphorae. Such pendants made of various materials were still used for wine vessels in the Middle Ages. By "rehanging", fraudulent intentions were of course easily possible. Important information about the wine such as the vintage or a producer's mark was also attached to the Korkbrandcork by means of cork firing.
Labels in their present form were not introduced until the beginning of the 19th century with the advent of lithography (stone printing). However, a wide use could only be made when the problem of adhesion on the bottles was solved. One of the earliest examples is considered to be a Schloss Johannisberger vintage 1822, which depicts the castle with the surrounding vineyards.