Our sense of history, aesthetics, place, and identity is stimulated by a wine-bottle label. The label offers a small, focused narrative through applied design elements. Labels tell stories, stimulate emotions, and (re)make a culture. Here we present a sense of the poetics of wine labels, and of their contribution to a pöiesis of an emerging Australian terroir. We select a set of Australian wine labels that speak of an Australian history of winemaking, Australian graphic design development, and of the pöiesis of Australian place and identity. Terroir has come late to Australia as a New World wine producer. The “terror” in our title comes from “messing” with the venerable term. Australian wine labels develop a sense of an Australian terroir by identifying grape with place; a winemaker or company's passions, predilections, and practices; and viticulture. An Australian terroir is to be cautiously but continually negotiated and determined: always in the “making.”

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