Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Who puts the wine in swine?

We NOW know who had the first case of Swine Flu, what the Swine Flu is, where the Swine Flu began, when the Swine Flu first broke out and why it keeps spreading ... but how is the Swine Flu affecting the wine industry??? To tell you the truth, I really don't know, but I thought the wine world should be included in the media blitz somehow. So, for entertainment purposes only I now give you a small collection of wine labels that feature adorable little piggies.

I found this image (at left) on the net. It was a trial project for Fyffe Family Vineyards.

These labels are pretty comical. My favorites are "Flying Pig" and "Pig in the House". I wonder if the sale of these wines is being affected by the Swine Flu, I can't truthfully believe it is. I tried to find a wine with an "S" on the label (for swine) but had no luck. The only wines I think might be affected by the Swine Flu may be ones that state, "...pairs well with pork."
I've had the El Jamon Tempernillo before and remember it being pretty good. I think I'll enjoy another bottle of it for #winewednesday on Twitter today!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Labels: Does funny equal bad?

Why may I ask do funny or clever wine labels conjure up ideas that the wine inside the bottle is sub-par? Does an unpronounceable name or an illustration of a fancy schmancy chateau make the wine inside any better? Many people do, but I think not! In my humble opinion, labels are the voice of the winemaker to new or uneducated wine consumers. "Pssst....pick me, pick me, no pick me". Packaging keeps small and new wine makers "in the game". When you can't compete with reputation, you can at least try to compete with looks.

Be it an event, special occasion or gift, labels help us make a selection. Sharing wine with the people we love only helps the matter further. Choosing a label that fits the occasion or event we are going to, shows that we care and took the time to find something that made sense. Anyone can grab the foo-foo label or the one that costs a little more than we wanted to spend, but the person who comes in with the bottle that has a label that makes people smile or giggle will probably be the one they remember. If the "clever label" wine is a bust, at least the label did its job ... and if it's good... then it's that much easier to remember when you see it again on the shelf. On the other hand, if it's a "not so memorable label" and the wine stinks, then you run the risk of buying it again without even knowing it. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me're so damn common looking that I couldn't tell the difference.

Today I walked the aisles of my local wine shop and asked people if they thought the wine I was holding in my hands was good. The first bottle I picked up had a fancy name and an elaborate family crest on the label. 3 out of 4 times I got a response along the lines of, "It looks must be good" or "I don't know, it seems like it should be good by the way it looks". They were influenced by the label on the wine, (by the way, it was a dirt cheap bottle that shall remain nameless, and I have tried it before, and it's not very good, according to my taste).

I then held up a bottle with a picture of a cute goofy looking dog on the label and repeated the process. The answers changed a little bit and people's expressions changed as well. I got responses such as, "It's cute...give it a shot" and "I wouldn't trust it, I think I'd try something else". Goofy dogs = poorly made wine? I happen to like the wine and buy it often, (but that's just my opinion).

All in all, you never can tell. Labels should show the creativity and attitude of the people behind the wine. The process of making wine is creative in and of itself, so why shouldn't the design of the label on the bottle follow in the same vein? Sometimes I think winemakers put so much thought and effort into the wine that they run out of steam when it comes to the label ... or maybe they just can't express themselves visually. Wine is a journey ... and labels are like the road maps we follow. Sometimes you just want to get where you want to go ... and other times you don't care and just want to take a ride. I'm all for taking a ride. Wine is passion, and the passion should show in everything connected to the wine, especially the label.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

winelabelreview Video Blog #2: Stephen Hall/Fulcrum Wines

winelabelreview Video Blog #2 from Richard Ritter on Vimeo.

Artisit Stephen Hall talks about his art career and his involvement in the creation of the label for Fulcrum Wines. You can see more of Stephen's work at, and you can check out the wines from Fulcrum at Be sure to contact Stephen via his site and tell him how much you enjoy his artwork. You can request pricing on his pieces as well. Fulcrum Wines are available by mailing list and in select restaurants only. Join their mailing list via the website.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Video Episode 1 Stags Leap Vineyards

Rich explains the meaning behind the Stags Leap name and gives you information on the artist who created the label artwork.
winelabelreview episode 1: Stags Leap from Richard Ritter on Vimeo.

Monday, April 6, 2009

LOOK! The opening clip for upcoming episodes!

winelabelreview intro from Richard Ritter on Vimeo.

This is the intro for upcoming video episodes on this blog. I am looking for suggestions for the first couple of labels I review. Submit your choices in the comments below.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dynamic Wine Labels...COOL!

Dynamic Wine Labels from andrerib on Vimeo.

Dynamic Wine Labels....COOL! Use your mobile phone's camera to find reviews, ratings, prices and locations to purchase the wine bottle in your hand. The QR Code is the link to all the information. It could also be removed and stored in an album. What are your thoughts?