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About Wine Literature of the World



The Wytt Morro Collection

Wytt Morro (1922- ) was the son of a prominent Adelaide commercial artist. His early training was with Vardons, the largest commercial printing house of the time, and later he joined his father to found the firm, Wytt Morro & Son. There he specialized in packaging design and began to do work for Stonyfell Wines. His first label included a view of the Adelaide plains which Morro sketched himself.

Another of his labels for Stonyfell was the classic Metala. This all-text label was based on the French Chateau Mouton-Rothschild label, and may have been the first Australian label to include an individual number for each bottle.

At the same time he introduced colour coding of labels. This involved the same design being used for all varieties but a different colour for each, for example, a red background for port, fawns and browns for sherries through to muscat, or pale greens for white wines.

More and more of Morro's work involved the wine industry. Another of his innovations was the wrap-around label for Wolf Blass Wines. As well as the centrepiece, it had two wings on either side, making the whole over 180 degrees when attached to the bottle. This was more than labelling machines could cope with, but Blass was so impressed with the design that he agreed to have the labels put on by hand.

Wytt Morro was responsible for what are probably the most beautiful wine labels designed and printed in Australia - the Woodley Treasure Clarets of 1949 to 1956. Each of the eight labels shows a rare Australian historical print, which is reproduced in four colours on a paper stock of superior quality to that used normally. Prints were chosen to reflect the qualities of the particular vintages: a a portrait of Queen Adelaide was selected for the 1953 Claret, which was considered to be the most delicate and refined of the eight, and a print of a racehorse decorated the 1956 vintage which client, Tony Nelson, believed to be the strongest and gutsiest. A portrait of Captain Cook was used for the most "masculine". All but one of the wines were straight Coonawarras. The labels have been described as "baseline trig points for any survey of Australian wine label design".

Woodleys Treasures series

Perhaps one of the most famous labels which Morro designed was for Orlando Barossa Pearl. First released in 1956, the sweet bubbly played an enormous part over decades in introducing thousands of Australians to wine. Morro remembers that it was impossible to get the labels on quickly enough, so a distinctively-shaped ceramic bottle was made with the label being printed on glass and fired.

The collection includes examples of the progress of a wine label from initial rough sketches, through work sheets and instructions, to the finished label.

Other design labels with which he has been involved include:

Mildara Chestnut Teal Oloroso Sherry
(Audio - Wytt speaks about designing the Chestnut Teal label)

Mildara Hunter Coonawarra 1958 Cabernet Shiraz

Orlando Barossa Riesling

Orlando Sparkling Starwine

Woodley's Est 750ml & 1pt6floz
(Audio - Wytt speaks about designing the Est label)

Woodley's sherry 'Three Roses"

An interview with Wytt Morro (requires Apple Quicktime)

Excerpts from a recent interview with Wytt Morro, conducted by Valmai Hankel:

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