A winemaker’s imagination isn’t limited to what goes on in the winery. For every great homemade wine there is very often a great story to tell about how it was made or why the winemaker chose to make it — and what better way to tell a wine’s story than on the label? Each year we collect hundreds of homemade wine labels for our annual label contest, and every year we have to narrow them down to a short list of favorites, which is no small task. This year, as in years past, we saw so many great designs using a wide variety of artwork, and some of them were as good as — or better than — some of the labels we’ve seen on commercial wines. After much deliberation, we chose a very “America-the-Beautiful” watercolor, a blue-jeans design that any working man or woman could appreciate, an embossed homage to a dog named Baron and a label with some California state pride. Narrowing it down to just a few winners is never easy, so we choose as many as we can.
Thank you to everyone for sending in your entries this year. Thank you, also, to all of this year’s sponsors for providing all of the excellent winemaking prizes.
Todd’s label idea was inspired by a trip to his cabin in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, which features a view of Squaretop Mountain, the South San Juan Mountains and the Continental Divide. “While sitting on the porch this afternoon my wife and I saw the most spectatular event. First the Divide turned bright orange/red, and as the sun continued to set, Squaretop Mountain and the entire horizon mellowed to the most beautiful hue of purple. My wife turned to me and said, “Purple Mountain Majesty.” The artwork is an original watercolor by his friend, June Jurcak.
Ronald made this hard-working design for the house blend he makes with a winemaking friend. “We go out in the field and pick the grapes ourselves. This label was for the house-drinking wine, so I used the Levi’s idea. It’s a generic, working-man’s wine.”
Gary and Cindy Bowles
Gary and Cindy drew inspiration for their winery and vineyard name from their yellow lab, Baron von Beauregard — aka Bo — who was pretty good at keeping birds away from the grapes. “The silhouette of Bo is from a picture we took of him laying on the bed of our 9-year-old son.” The embossing was done by a neighbor, Jim Decrevel, who is one of a small number of people left in the US who can still hand engrave embossing dyes.
Kathryn A. Keeler/Stuart M. de Haaff
Kathy and Stuart’s winery is named for the blue and gold colors they admire at their ranch — which happen to be the colors of the University of California, which has educated two generations of their family. “The scene on our wine label is a graphic representation of the view from the top of our property at sunset. We have a large Live Oak tree, which has almost come to be a guardian of the property.”
Delray Beach, Florida
Chris Bessette & Linda Little
Bob & Sonya Evanosky
Nick & Amanda Adams
Gary & Cheri Sextro
John T. Schiavone
Fair Oaks, California
Huntington Beach, California
Kansas City, Kansas
Ossining, New York
Sten J. Urbom
Ronkonkoma, New York