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Unusual Labels
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Diversity in Wine

M ore attractive, amusing and interesting labels

Summerhill Pyramid Winery
British Columbia
     Summerhill is Canada's largest organic winery, and the only one with a four storey high pyramid in which their wines are aged.
     This wine, with its delightful label depicting a fairy surrounded by magical woodland creatures, was not only aged under the pyramid, but blessed by Medicine Woman Chelsea Wise.

Kissed  label
Summerhill Pyramid Winery website
Domaine Zind Humbrecht
Alsace, France
Zind label

      A question for you -- what is the vintage of this wine?

      If your answer is 2002 then you are wrong, and correct at the same time.

      Look again at the "vintage" year on the label. It doesn't say 2002. Instead it reads Z2 (Z followed by two images of the end of a barrel and a 2.

      Sharp eyes will have also spotted that this wines is classed as a "vin de table" - a simple table wine - rather than the expected superior Alsace Appellation Contrôlée that the rest of Domaine Zind Humbrecht's wines enjoy.

      Zind Humbrecht came into being in 1959 when Léonard Humbrecht married Geneviève Zind. The two families' vineyards were also joined and now enjoy the reputation of one of the finest in Alsace. It is run by Leonard and son Olivier organically and on bio-dynamic principles in which phases of the moon determine timing of vineyard tasks, and cow horns filled with special preparations are buried in fields.

      They planted some Chardonnay vines which they felt would be ideal in their terroir. This wine is a blend of 50% Auxerrois, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Blanc. However, Chardonnay is not one of the traditional Alsace varieties approved by the French authorities so this wine is not eligible for Appellation Contrôlée status. And table wines are not allowed to show a vintage year on their label. So if you misread Z2 as vintage 2002 you were mistaken. Although in fact the grapes were picked and the wine made in that year.

      This wine was golden yellow colour, full bodied with ripe pear and nutty flavours, with a sweet edge and tangy finish. tasted October 2005

Robert Eden
St Chinian, France
Grenashe label

      Have you spotted what is unusual about this label? It looks straightforward. The label design is attractive and uncluttered. The wine is made by Robert "Bertie" Eden, who is the grandson of British Prime Minister Anthony Eden.

      But what grape variety is the wine made from? If you know southern French wines then you'll be familiar with Grenache, and Grenache is what this wine is mostly made of. But the label misspells the name.

      Spelling errors on wine labels are surprisingly common. The back label of this wine misspells the word 'indigenous'.

      But the shop I bought this from told me that the spelling of Grenashe is deliberate and that the 'S' refers to Syrah, some twenty percent of which is blended in with the Grenache. So it's either a brilliantly clever pun -- or a misprint.

      The wine, from organically grown grapes and fermented with "indiginous" yeasts, is a delightfully delicious, rich spicy fruity wine.

Therapy Vineyards, Canada
Therapy label

      Dinner parties will be enlivened by Therapy Vineyard's series of Rorschach test labels. Rorschach ink blots are used by psychologists performing personality tests.

      The label, designed by Bernie Hadley-Beauregard and Ben O'Meara, is a winner in the 2005 Communication Arts Design & Advertising Annual. Communication Arts is the international "bible" of Design publications. They annually survey the world of design and advertising to celebrate the best in the market.

      Look carefully at this label and say what you think. Me -- I think I'll have another glass of wine.

Tokara Winery, South Africa
Zondernaam label

      Tokara is one of the most hyped new wineries in South Africa. No expense has been spared in its stunning building. Huge fermentation tanks are suspended in the air to free the floor area. Works of art adorn walls and people travel far to eat in its famous restaurant. The gardens are immaculate and its vineyards are so neat they could have been clipped with nail scissors.

      But Tokara has never released a wine under its own name. They are determined their name will appear only wine they consider world class.

      Zondernaam means 'without a name', and it is the label they are using for wines made at the winery from their young vineyards and bought in grapes until they feel they have reached a standard suitable for the Tokara name.

      This is great for consumers who can buy Zondernaam - which is effectively a second label - at bargain prices and get super wines made at a winery which lacks nothing in material or people.

      Miles Mossop is the winemaker. His Sauvignon Blanc is a stunner, and the spicy fruity Pinotage (whose label is depicted here) will convert anyone to this local variety

Tiny Bubbles
Harper Hill
website at www.oildalewinery.com

      After their successes with Redneck Red and White Trash White Harper Hill's Oildale Winery have added a Syrah and Zinfandel to their range, plus this sparkler.

      I laughed out loud the first time I saw this label. As the label says You can't have a party without Tiny Bubbles, and Tiny Bubbles would be a welcome guest at my next birthday party.

      Thanks to Terry Hill for the label

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2 January 2006