You can't judge a wine by its label-but a beautiful "cover" certainly can't hurt. Temecula Valley wineries are putting just as much creativity and originality into their label designs as they are in their wines. And the results are inspiring.
Wine labels are the first thing that attracts a consumer when contemplating which wine to choose. Some first-time shoppers even choose a wine by the label--after all, the label builds the anticipation of what's inside the bottle. It's the quality of the wine itself that makes customers loyal fans.
Temecula Valley vintners are adorning their bottles with art that is not only beautiful, sometimes even fun, but often tells a sentimental story. Ken and Christina Falik, owners of Gershon Bachus Vintners, named and label their wines to for the character of Greek and Roman gods, goddesses, muses and graces that best represent their character. Their wine, Anteros, a blend of Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel, is named for the God of Requited Love (the Roman equivalent of Cupid), and their son's likeness was used for the cherubic face on the label.
The label of Lorimar Winery's 2014 Chardonnay bears scenic photographs of the vineyard from which it came, in each of the four seasons. The images were taken by Temecula-based photographer Bodhi Smith, and the four-image work, called "Seasons of Del Oro," is for sale on coasters and as an art piece at the winery.
Oak Mountain Winery's Double Trouble 2013 Riesling has a bright blue label depicting Buddy and Bandit, the two beloved Queensland Heelers of vintners Valerie and Steve Anderson. The label is a watercolor painting by local artist Tamra Gerard. The artwork also can be found in "Winery Dogs of USA" book #3.
Robert Renzoni Winery's 2013 Fiore di Fano, a Super Tuscan blend of estate-grown Cabernet, Sauvignon, Brunello Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, has special meaning to owner and winemaker Robert Renzoni. The classically styled painting that adorns the label was a gift from a special friend he met on a journey to his family's hometown, Fano, Italy.
Wiens Winery's Red Crowded is a red-wine blend so-named for the "crowd" of varietals in each vintage, such as the Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Cabrenet Franc, Sangiovese and Syrah in the 2014. Red Crowded is one of a series, which also includes White Crowded and Pink Crowded (rosé) blends, fancifully designed featuring appropriately colored red, white and pink birds by local artist Kelly Vivanco. All three designs are available on posters and t-shirts.
Falkner Winery's 2014 Risque Riesling is illustrated with a sleek black pump and tube of vibrant red lipstick in a classy nod to consumers, often women, according to owner Loretta Falkner, who like a bit of sweetness in their white wine. Risque Riesling is part of Falkner's sweet Seductive Series, which also includes a red blend and rosé.
South Coast Winery vintner Jim Carter commissioned artist Tamra Gerard to paint a portrait of his dear Aunt Ruby as she might have looked in the 1920s for his Ruby Cuvée. Both the label and the carefully crafted sparkling Syrah in the bottle are intended to capture the effervescent charm of Ruby Carter, who was always the belle of the ball. The art can be found on t-shirts, posters, coasters and magnets in South Coast's gift shop.
Newly opened Fazeli Cellars pays homage to owner BJ Fazeli's homeland with a series of wines named for acclaimed Persian poets. The 2012 Ferdowsi Cabernet Franc is named for Abu Ferdowsi, widely known as the most influential figure in Persian literature, and is designed by BJ's daughter, Romy Fazeli. The artwork features a stylized grapevine symbolizing Fazeli's "our roots run deep" motto.
These are just a few of the beautifully designed wine labels from Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. Not only are the wines carefully and passionately crafted, so are the labels.