Love for the Label

I must confess that on occasion I purchase a bottle of wine solely based on the packaging.  Don’t lie, I know you do too.  After narrowing my search down to a couple of contenders, I’ll often end up choosing the wine whose visual appeal I find more intriguing.  This is especially true of those wines I intend to age in my cellar.  They are the ones that look so stately all lined up on the rack, the ones I will debate over and over in my mind when to drink.  There is a strange bond formed with these wines over time, making it very heart-wrenching to finally insert the fatal corkscrew.  I see the beautiful packaging as a constant reminder that this wine is a unique, living work of art.

It has always been very important to me to have my wines showcased in a way that catches people’s attention and relays our message of quality and scarcity.  For this reason I’m very proud of our label designers, Insite Design, for some recent praise they’ve received on their work.  The Five Rows label has been commended by many global wine design sites (here is an example), as well as being included in a prestigious packaging annual entitled “Boxed and Labelled – New Approaches to Packaging Design”.

Also keep an eye out for “The Art & Design of Contemporary Wine Labels”, a soon to be released book written by Toronto author Tanya Scholes.  A true wine label aficionado, Tanya contacted me shortly after our initial launch to get some details about our winery and inquire if she could use our label and story in her book.  I look forward to seeing her finished product in August.

A Blank Canvas

After a brief respite, work in the vineyard has begun again in earnest.  It’s time to evaluate just how many buds have made it through winter, then make an educated guess at how many to leave for the upcoming season.  We look at things like bud viability, cane density, internodal gap distance, and the long-range forecast before making our first cuts.

Generally, we prune our vines back to two trunks, each housing a cane of ten or so buds.  We’ve been lucky with a mild winter to this point and bud viability is relatively high compared to previous years.  However, one frigid night can quickly change this rosy outlook, so as an insurance measure we’ll leave a third cane on one of the trunks just in case March decides to go out like a lion.  This third cane is left untied early in the spring then either cut off or tied down at a later date based on how many total buds survive through the dreaded frost window.

The art of pruning may seem like a boring, monotonous chore to some, but I actually quite enjoy it.  I look at each vine as a blank canvas, ready to be fashioned into a viticultural masterpiece.  Laugh not, for the responsibility to empower a vine to produce stellar fruit should not be taken lightly.  This important task of renewal sets the tone for the year ahead and restarts the cycle of life.  With each successive snip of the pruners, it’s hard not to anticipate and envision the bounty this vine will bring us in the fall.