It’s that time of year again — time to celebrate those home winemakers who put as much effort into creating labels to decorate the outside of their bottles as they do creating the wine inside of them. Our 23rd annual WineMaker Amateur Label Contest attracted hundreds of submissions from around the world, giving our judging panel of WineMaker staff the pleasure of viewing a wide assortment of creativity. And yet, for the first time in recent memory, we have a repeat Grand Champion in Eric Rosenfeld, who also took top honors a year ago. Along with him, there are some new names on the podium and a lot of fantastic labels we’re proud to share on the following pages.
We extend our appreciation to all of the winemakers who shared their labels with us, as well as the sponsors who generously donated prizes for all of the winning entrants!
“I find myself drawn to impressionism and the way that style conveys emotions with color. The Super Tuscan wine I produced was similarly complex, containing both bold fruit and darker tannins and aromas. The ways these elements combined and swirled around my palate reminded me of the way the paint comes together on an impressionist canvas. I wanted to capture that in the label while maintaining the idea that all of this was born with a love for the playful and experimental in my winemaking.”
Roman’s daughter, a CalPoly student majoring in graphic design, created this label that caught all of the judges’ attention. “She has been doing artwork by cutting out various materials using color and texture. To make the 2018 Merlot label, she used a photo of our house, which is where the wine is made,” Roman said. In addition to winning gold for the label, the wine itself was awarded Best of Show at the Santa Cruz Fair!
John has been creating labels for his homemade wines for decades, telling us he’s designed around 200 labels in total! “Each year myself and my sons make approximately 10 different wines. I then must come up with a design,” he said. The labels generally use borrowed artwork, but where John gets the most enjoyment is airbrushing and selecting fonts and colors for his label. The way his last name appears to float from the label caught all of the judges’ attention in this design.
This label is an homage to Barb’s roots. A label on the back of each bottle (not pictured) tells the story of Uncle Ray moving across the country to Oregon in the back seat of a Studebaker with his five-year-old brother in 1935. Five years later, Ray’s family settled in the Pettibone farm where Barb’s grandfather raised five boys while tending to the farm. “Ray’s Place, on the Pittibone farm, has now passed on to the third generation where we now raise heritage apples, Pinot Noir, hazelnuts, and another generation of boys,” the label concludes.
Receiving the most fan votes from a group of our favorite Honorable Mention labels, the winning label was, incredibly, created by someone who won’t be able to legally drink wine for another 15 years! “The original artwork was done by my 6-year-old grandson after I told him these grapes turn from green to red,” said Brian.