Label Gazing: How to Read a Wine Label

The hosts of CTV’s The Social and I had lots of fun decoding wine labels to find the secret info you can use to buy better wine. Admit it. You’ve probably bought a wine based on nothing more than a beautiful label.   Q: Presentation is a big thing when it comes to wine. When I’m picking out a bottle, I look for a pretty label and pay attention to the name of the wine but that’s about it. Is the aesthetic of the label usually indicative of the taste? · Not at all ;) · However, most people do […]

read more …

Read More

A Game of Clones: A Journey into Croatian Wine

By Andrea Shapiro The Republic of Croatia, located in Eastern Europe is one of the oldest wine growing countries in the world, and yet is relatively unknown to the average Canadian like me. The region possesses both mediterranean and continental climates and a soil structure that travels the spectrum, from sandy to volcanic. The result is a terroir that is proficient at yielding a myriad of varietals – everything from global mainstays such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot to indigenous grapes such as Graševina, Pošip and Plavac Mali. During the Cold War, as part of The Socialist Federal Republic […]

read more …

Read More

Undercover Sommelier

Unless you count the time I handed out plates at a church supper, I’ve never worked as a waiter. Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from commenting on the service in restaurants—particularly the wine service—as if I knew exactly what I was talking about. Now, to stopper my leaking credibility, I’ve decided to work in a restaurant for a night. Only the best would do, so I selected Le Baccara, an award-winning restaurant in Québec that offers haute French cuisine, with classic service. That would be just perfect for me, I thought—until I realized that as a server, I would […]

read more …

Read More

Can You Judge a Wine by its Label?

Continued from Part 1 of Reading Wine Labels It’s 5 p.m. on Friday—the dinner party is in two hours and you’re standing in the middle of the liquor store. In front of you are thousands of bottles of wine. Should you consider only wines over $15 so your host won’t think you’re cheap? Do you grab the bottle with the small furry animals on the label or will the guests think you live inside a Disney movie? Should you go for the wine with the cheeky name for a laugh or might someone be offended? If you’re not a wine […]

read more …

Read More

Reserve Wine Labels and Other Extra Special Meaningless Terms

Continued from Part 2 of Reading Wine Labels There’s nothing like having to buy wine at the last minute to take to a friend’s house to cause a panic attack. No other consumable is put on the table in its original package. At social gatherings, the wine label is like a blinking billboard telling your guests exactly what you think of them and of yourself. So that piece of paper affixed to the front of the bottle is all you have to go on. In the quaint old days, merchants simply wrote on the label what was in the bottle. […]

read more …

Read More

Message on a Bottle: Art on Wine Labels

Most people wouldn’t dream of stacking their art collection in a damp, dark basement. But wine lovers aren’t like most people—and their art isn’t like most art: it’s Post-It-Note-sized and glued to bottles. Wineries today are not only perfecting the art of making wine, but also the art on the wine: they’re creating works of miniature art on bottle labels, sometimes painted by famous artists. This Novello label above (and at the series at the very top) was created by Toronto designer Daryl Woods of Public Image Design. The marriage of wine and art is as old as Egyptian tomb […]

read more …

Read More

Can You Judge a Wine by its Label? It’s an Art

Continued from Part 1 of Wine Label Art In an ocean of wine, the label is the siren song that says, “Take me home with you.” For many of us, buying wine is an exercise in shallowness: we think pretty pictures must mean good wine. We find fluffy creatures endearing. We believe the winery actually used those glistening grapes. We long to share that pastoral landscape or partake of château life. Like most marketing, wine labels are intensely aspirational. (That’s probably why we have yet to see one featuring someone passed out on the floor.) But it wasn’t always so. […]

read more …

Read More

Design on Wine: How Much Does a Wine Label Influence You?

Continued from Part 2 of Wine Label Art That’s not a bad deal when you consider that the latest vintage retails for about $600 a bottle, and increases with maturity. Many other wineries around the world have engaged artists to design their labels, including several from Canada, most notably Hillebrand Winery Estates and Colaneri Estate Winery in Niagara, and Calona Vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. Stylistically these images range from the traditional (château on a hilltop) to impressionist (sun-dappled pickers in a field) to modern (bold contrasting colors, strong lines). Other elements, such as embossed or gold-coated printed labels, help […]

read more …

Read More

Are Wine Labels by Famous Painters a Work of Art?

Continued from Part 3 of Wine Label Art And while it may not be ironic that you can buy the print of the label more easily than you can the wine itself, it certainly is a paraducks. Perhaps Kenwood Vineyards, of Sonoma, California, wished it had gone with an inoffensive iguana for the 1975 label. Over the years, Kenwood (dubbed the “Mouton of America”) has commissioned more than thirty artists to produce label images, including Pablo Picasso, Henry Miller, Sam Francis, Alexander Calder, Joan Miró, Wayne Thiebaud and Jim Dine. But the very first label it proposed for its Artist […]

read more …

Read More