Halloween Labels: Ghosts, Elves and High Design

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Halloween is a reason to celebrate gloulish high design on wine labels

Labels with slightly scary themes are appealing to the dark sides of wine drinks all year round. Mortality, imprisonment, mystery and jovial skeletons are among the themes on popular bottles.

“They have attitudes, maybe a little bit naughty, and they catch interest next to other wines on the shelf,” says David Shuemann, owner of CF Napa Brand Design, a California branding agency specializing in the alcoholic beverage industry. “The trend is towards things that are a little mysterious and sexy in some way, and that’s why you see [it] on red mixes a lot. They are sexy and mysterious, bolder and naughtier. “

While not specifically related to Halloween, this is the month where their macabre themes are in the spotlight. Here are a few thrills and chills you can find on the shelves.

Reaper, Reaper vine; Paso Robles, CA. While somewhat macabre, the Goya-like charcoal sketch of a mower reflects “the cyclical and interconnected nature of things,” says Ari Walker, chairman of the Integrated Beverage Group, which owns Reaper. “Wine is inseparable from the seasons. Once the grapes are harvested, the process can begin all over again. ” The hand-drawn sketch, Walker says, reflects the wine’s crafty sensitivity.

The Horned Hare, Split Rail Winery; Boise, ID. The label borrows from a mural that the winery has designed for its building in Garden City, an artistic enclave by Boise. “I love wine labels that are out of the box,” said owner Jed Glavin, referring to the groundbreaking work of art in the craft beer industry.

Although the skeletons were retained on the mural itself, the designer made them in front and in the middle of the label. It produces a somewhat gothic and crazy vibe, says Glavin in an attempt to “get past the traditional concept that [wine] must be so boutique and structured. ”

Chronic basements, Paso Robles, CA. When brothers Jake and Josh Beckett, formerly of Chronic Cellars, started their winery, they wanted “something edgy and fun and a kind of disrespectful” that would attract new consumers to their red blends. A childhood friend came up with The Day of the Dead theme and carved every single block of wood by hand, and Jake even colored the labels. Although the Beckett brothers have moved on, the current, updated branding still reflects their original vision.

Truett Hurst The witch and Curious beasts, Russian River Valley, CA. The ornate label of Bewitched uses artful fonts reminiscent of the Victorian era, what Shuemann calls “contemporary nostalgia.” Winemaker Virginia Lambrix said Bewitched evokes a “femme fatale … at times angry, sweet to others … but enchanting and romantic.” Curious Beasts highlights itself as a “blood red” wine made from five varieties. Detailed Day of the Dead woodcut stylings wrap the entire bottle in a full-bottle wrap that encloses the bottle.

That Prisoner Wine Company The portfolio includes three wines with dark themes: “The Prisoner”, of course, “Blindfold” and “Eternal Silence.” Director of Winemaking Chrissy Wittmann called the wildly popular Prisoner wines, which blend grapes from growers in the Napa Valley, “disturbing”, but so is the Goya-inspired work of art from his “The little prisonerEtching, which leaves much to the restless imagination.

From cult vineyard, Sine Qua Non, The 17th Stitch in My Skull (main image), is a Rhone style produced with grapes from Eleven Confessions Vineyard, which you will see more often on the auction block or in collectors’ cellars than on the retail shelf. The winery is known for its whimsical works of art and names, but perhaps none as appropriate as this one for Halloween.

Others to check out:

Elk Creek Vineyards, Ghostly White Chardonnay and Bone Dry Red (Kentucky)

Pedro Martin, Bone Dry Red (Portugal)

Twisted Oak, River of Skulls Mourvedre (Sierra Foothills)

Chateau Diana Zombie Zin (California)

Vampire Vineyards Pinot Noir and Merlot and Dracula Merlot (Paso Robles)

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