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The artistry of local labels

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Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 1:33 pm

Galleries, murals, statues, you name it. There is no shortage of art in Lodi. 

We also have some of the best wines, which can be described as art in a bottle. But have you taken a look at the bottles?

How a product is presented to the consuming public is as important — if not more important — than the actual product itself. A wine maker needs to capture the eye of his potential customers, draw them in and get them to buy the vino.

As recently evidenced by Van Ruiten Family Vineyards “Best Label in the World” award, Lodi's wines have some pretty outstanding labels. What's on the bottle is on par with what's in the bottle.

To be sure, Van Ruiten's label is outstanding. But I think there are plenty of others that merit our artistic applause.

Take a look at Michael-David's Petite Petit with the whimsical circus theme. The colors catch the eye and the humorous design featuring dancing elephants begs to be picked up and examined. 

Some designs take a clever and technical approach in our electronic age. Peltier Station's USB Port isn't just clever in name, it's clever in modern design. Look closer at those gnarled old vines. It's a combination of zeroes and ones (binary computer code) that makes up the design.

There is plenty of elegant artistry abounding on bottles as well. No shortage, in fact. Plenty of wines, such as the aforementioned Van Ruiten label, have graceful designs. Check out the simple, yet classy Lucas labels. The floral design adorning the face of Watts Winery bottles is equally elegant.

Yet, when it comes to my all-time favorite label of the moment, no wine has quite captured my attention like that of Benson Ferry's 95240 Zinfandel.

With their label, Benson Ferry was able to capture several unique identifiers for Lodi. The zip code is a no-brainer (but they thought to use it when nobody else did) and the Zinfandel seems to be the grape of Lodi. The mix of type and imagery always has me taking a second look at the bottle, which is the point.

There's no telling what our local vintners will come up with next, and there's no telling which label will become my next favorite.

Who knows? Maybe someone will produce a Ducks In Lodi Barbera. Now that would be a cool label.