Sunday, March 1, 2009

New York Wine Expo 2009 - best in show

After visiting the New York Wine Expo on Saturday February 28, 2009 at the Jacob Javitz Center, I walked back to Penn Station with my two "complimentary" wine glasses in hand (which I later found out were not for the taking), thinking of all the wines I had sampled, but more importantly all of the great wine label designs I had seen. While riding the train I was able to review the notes and photographs I had taken during the show. I had a good idea of which labels truly had an impact on me, but reviewing my photos solidified it for me. The following labels (in no particular order) were some that I found to be either eye catching, innovative or just plain cool.

Brooklyn Oenology's BOE 2005 Merlot is a very cool label. Brooklyn Oenology is located in Brooklyn NY, where else, but they source their fruit from the North Fork of Long Island. The winery's philosophy about their label art is to choose artists from the local urban area, either from word of mouth, galleries or even right off the street. This label art was created by Bert Hewener-Esenherz born in 1961 in Berlin. You can learn more about his work at . The warm color scheme and silhouette of the city skyline really pop. All of the labels from this winery are excellent, but this one just did it for me. The labels peel right off for easy archiving. You can check out the other amazing labels from Brooklyn Oenology on their website at They would make awesome gifts for the wine/art lover you know or just be cool to own as a piece of original art, hey you never know!
The next label is from Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, NY, Bedell's owner, Michael Lynne, former Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of New Line Cinema and Executive Producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is raising the bar in label design. The family commissions artists whose pieces they own in their own private collection. These artists are rock stars of art from the local New York area, such as Chuck Close who created the label artwork for Bedell's 2006 MUS√ČE , and Barbra Kruger who created the label artwork for the 2006 TASTE RED label pictured here. The Monroe-esque image is captivating with the word taste in red that is classic Kruger. You can learn more about Barbra Kruger at her website . You can also learn about Chuck Close at, .

The next label of note from the expo was from a winery from New Zealand called INVIVO. These guys mean business. They had a staff on hand that was knowledgeable, well put together and ultra prepared. I was drawn to their exhibit space due to their very simplistic yet highly impactful logo design. The bottles in a group made quite a statement, and would be hard to ignore in a wine shop, and would look very impressive in a cellar or wine rack. The story behind the label is this; they invited iconic New Zealand fashion house Zambesi to design the beautiful and unique Invivo label. "The design was in part inspired by the face of a ship's compass-rose indicating the points of direction or navigation as the wines will be emanating from diverse wine regions within the country. It also seemed appropriate to symbolize a focal point of excellence which culminates in the art of the Invivo winemaker. So the mark also represents a coming together of the grapes, the vintner's art the the essence of Aotearoa-New Zealand. Like many symbolic marks there is more than one notion of reference." - Neville Findlay, Zambesi. You can check Invivo wines out at You can also check out Zambesi at

The last label I would like to mention is from a producer in California. The name is Fulcrum and their label and packaging is extremely classy (not to mention their wine is top notch as well). Their wines are available by mailing list only, so get on the list ASAP (also check if they can ship to your state). The label/bottle seal was designed by New York artist Stephen Hall. After the wine is bottled, it is carefully wrapped in tissue and secured with a seal depicting an acrobat juggling. His image embodies their guiding principle of balance. To view more of Stephen's spectacular work, please visit You can get on Fulcrum's mailing list and view the full image of Stephen's artwork by visiting
So there you have it, it wasn't planned at all, but three of the labels I chose were produced by New York area artists. That should be something wine producers make note of. I wasn't the only one impressed by these labels either. Plenty of people I spoke to at the New York Wine Expo had similar opinions. I actually spoke to a young couple from California and explained what I was doing and they directed me to the Brooklyn Oenology exhibit space.
Upcoming entries to this site may include interviews with Bedell Cellars (so we can get the inside scoop on their labels) as well as Stephen Hall whose artwork appears on the Fulcrum packaging.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait for the next entry. Keep them coming.