After crawling our way out of the large piles of boxes, envelopes and packages that have been collecting on the floor of the editorial department for the past two months, we managed to get to the other side of the office and recruit some co-workers judging the label contest. The boxes were ripped, the envelopes opened and the bottles were displayed under the bright lights of the judging table. The multiple personalities of our small office converged and began the battle of aesthetic opinions. Let’s see, the publisher, all business, the ad salesman, you might think would be all business but has a soft spot for poetry and – as it turns out – flowers, the art director, well, use your imagination, and the two editors, editor one and editor two, we’re all about convincing copy and catchy names. All in all, the scales were pretty well balanced.
With pizza in hand, the judging commenced and one by one each and every label was scrutinized, praised, analyzed and critiqued until we had come up with a manageable pile of outstanding wine labels.
In this pile were planets, animals, fruits and vegetables, snapshots of husbands and wives, paintings and illustrations of bucolic scenes. Along with each label came a story, some poignant, some happy, some funny and some just plain kooky. We even had a small X-rated section that was off limits to anyone under 18.
All in all, we were impressed with the display of talent, innovation and creativity put forth by our readers. In the true spirit of home winemaking our readers have demonstrated an undying passion for and obsession with their favorite hobby.
1st. Vic Bourassa
Vic is the newly elected President of the Napa Valley Home Winemakers Association who promises to throw a party for us the next time we visit Napa Valley. We swear this had no bearing or influence over our decision to vote him first place in any way. We do have a code of ethics here. We loved the gold plated label with the rough edges. We only wish the bottle had been full!
Prize: Vineco International’s Icevine Gift Kit. Plus: WhiteLabs gift pack, Wyeast liquid yeast cultures and “The Encyclopedia of Home Winemaking,” from XYZ Publishing.
2nd. Dr. Boyce L. Clark
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Each and every Utopia Winery label entered by Doctor Clark was as good as or better than the last. We were particularly taken with the “Better Living Through Fermentation” motto on the label. Prize: Floor Corker from the Grape and Granary. Plus: White Labs gift pack and “The Encylopedia of Home Winemaking,” from XYZ Publishing.
3rd Dr. John Cozzarelli
Nutley, New Jersey
John just so happens to be a winner from our homebrew label contest. He has proven to be multi-talented and sent us thick pile of homemade labels to agonize over. Mr. Cozzarelli takes third place for sheer industriousness along with creative talent. Prize: Grand Cru 10 L Kit plus labels, from RJ Grape and White Labs gift pack.
Amateur Honorable Mention Category
North Wales, Pennsylvania
Prize: 10 Sheets of Custom Labels from My Own Labels. Plus: One bag of synthetic corks from Flying Barrel.
Prize: Label CD-ROM and 5 Label Packs from Steinbart Wholesale. Plus: One bag of synthetic corks from Flying Barrel.
Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania
Prize: “From Vines to Wines” by Jeff Cox from Storey Publishing. Plus: One bag of synthetic corks from Flying Barrel.
Thousand Oaks, California
Prize: Gift certificate toward grapevines at Double A Vineyards and “Grapes Into Wine” by Phillip Wagner as offered in their catalog. Plus: One bag of synthetic corks form Flying Barrel.
Prize: Thermometer timer with alarm from Cynmar Corporation. Plus: Gift certificate from Strange Brew.
Prize: Harbor Mist Kit from Brew King Limited. Plus: Gift Certificate from Strange Brew.
Los Angeles, California
Prize: Gift certificate from Beer and Wine Hobby. Plus: Gift certificate from Strange Brew and one bag of synthetic corks from Flying Barrel.
Skip and Linda Smith
Coos Bay, Oregon
Prize: Gift Certificate from Beer and Wine Hobby. Plus: Gift certificate from Strange Brew and one bag of synthetic corks from Flying Barrel.
1st. Place: Phoenix Packaging International
The marvelous malleable medium was the hook. Scenes of barrels, wine bottles, grapes and wine cellars printed on the very cool bendable metal surface were aesthetically pleasing as well as unique. Prize: Icevine Gift Kit from Vineco International and “Encyclopedea of Home Winemaking,” from XYZ Publishing.
2nd Place: Salvatore R. Coco
Kansas City, Kansas
Salvatore once used store-bought labels and simply stamped the vintage year and grape on them until a marketing firm used by his company offered to make him some labels. This is the very fine and sophisticated result. Prize: Selection Premium wine Kit by Brew by You. Plus: “Encyclopedia of Home Winemaking,” from XYZ Publishing.
3rd. Christine Hession
Christine’s labels favored fruits and vegetables. It was a toss up between her sleek “Pear Wine” label and the deeply colorful “Beet Wine.” The beets won in the end. But we want to know who that guy is in the circle at the top of the label. Could this be David the winemaker? Hession’s Homebrew Prize: Selection Kit from Brew King. Plus: “Encyclopedia of Home Winemaking,” by XYZ Publishing.
Professional Honorable Mentions:
Cheryl Paulin and Frank Wilson
Prize: Vintners Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Kit from L.D. Carlson. Plus: Gift pack from White Labs.
Gwen Mohr-Tulley and Scott Shapiro
Prize: Two Books from Storey Books. The Home Winemaker’s Companion by Gene Spaziani and Ed Halloran and Making Wild Wines and Meads by Pattie Vargas and Rich Gulling. Plus: One bag of synthetic corks from Flying Barrel.