Quirky Wine Labels
From festive to Freudian, these unconventionally marked bottles make whimsical holiday gifts.
However you may feel about the wine, the brightly colored, occasionally psychedelic labels found on the bottles of most of the Beaujolais Noveaus released last month were certainly eye-catching. The same is true for these unconventional bottle markers, which range from the seasonal to the political to the bizarre.
While everyone knows it's what inside that counts, first impressions can also be fun or, at least, help stimulate the holiday party chatter.
At Therapy Vineyards, located in Canada's Okanagan region, most bottles feature a Rorschach Ink Blot test on their labels. Others pay direct homage to the father of psychoanalysis with names like Freudian Sip, Pink Freud, Freud's Ego, and, for the winery's best red wine of any given year, Super Ego.
Cleavage Creek Cellars was founded by Budge Brown, who lost his wife of 48 years to breast cancer. All bottles sold at the California winery display color photos of smiling women (all breast-cancer survivors) showing a little bit of, um, cleavage—and not at all distasteful. Ten percent of all proceeds are donated to breast-cancer research. For something a bit more X-rated, there's Naked Winery, which has tasting rooms split between Hood River, Oregon and Wishram, Washington. The grapes are—in the owner's words—"orgasmically grown" in the Apple Gate, Willamette Valley, Rogue Valley and Columbia Valley regions. Wine names include Penetration, Diva, Dominatrix, Climax and Missionary.
A Vintner Wonderland
Need a holiday gift for a fellow wine drinker that will truly celebrate the season? The following wines depict cold-weather and Christmasy icons on their labels: Winter White by Leelanau Cellars in Omena, Michigan (snow and pine trees); 2004 Late Bottle Vintage Port by Creekside Cellars in Evergreen, Colorado (horse-drawn sleigh, ice skaters and a lake); 2005 Barbera by Charles Spinetta Winery in California (moose set against a backdrop of pine trees); 2006 Vidal Ice Wine by Jost Wine in Nova Scotia, Canada (icicles and snow-draped branches) and the 2006 Riesling by Moselland Ars Vitis in Mosel, Germany (frosted banners and a hilly, snow-laden road).
A number of wineries, including Millbrook Vineyards & Winery in New York's Hudson River Valley, allow customers to create their own labels. . .for wines at all price points. Online wine retailers like Wine Label, whose new releases include an Obama Napa Valley Merlot (from La Finquita)—sure be a crowd pleaser this inaugural season—also offer a variety of predesigned labels and customization services.