Wine labels have always fascinated me. Even as a child, whether gazing at framed collections in people's downstairs loos or looking at the way the paper soaks off a bottle in an ice bucket (a thoroughly louche youth), the way vineyards market their wines totally engorges my grapes.
One friend of my parents has a vineyard (which I think his kids now run), and he has a fun twist to his labels, creating designs for the inside as well as the outside. I think he worked out fairly early not to bother doing it for red wines, but it looks great on their chardonnay.
The real star of wine labels, though, is the Mouton Rothschild (two years ago, 50 cases of the '82 were sold at auction for over $1m). The labels have been going since, I think, 1945. Have a look at some of them here. And now the latest artist has been appointed. Read on to learn more:
"The highly anticipated 2005 vintage of Château Mouton Rothschild has been revealed by the Château. In a tradition started in 1945 a contempory artist has been chosen to illustrate a small space at the top of the label. To date sixty three artists have done it ranging from Chagall to Picasso to Henry Moore, last year Prince Charles who is an avid painter was chosen. This year the Italian painter Giuseppe Penone who is known for his art which connects man and nature was chosen with his painting of a vine leaf and hand." From Sybarites.org.