Recently, I had the opportunity to test drive some of these fancy tools now available to monitor what people are saying on the web about you and your products. There is certainly some hesitation and ambivalence about putting one’s ear to the door to overhear something that may have never been said (or in this case written) for you. Nevertheless, I am rather cavalier and have learned that those of us who allow rain to bead off of our hides tend to live longer, happier lives and with fewer incidences of heart attack. At least, that’s the public health stats they fed me in graduate school.
Monitoring feedback about my wines was mostly positive. However, one negative comment warranted my attention. I have strong reservations about people who spend time commenting online about wines. It strikes me as a rather severe infatuation with the fuzz in one’s umbilical. Wine is inherently a social beverage and I suppose there is some credulity that people who share their wine notes online are seeking some sort of association and connection with far flung, anonymous (or in this case, a poster aka BEB) others who may have similarly imbibed a wine and thought to write about it online. But, I digress.
The comment was this: “This is the worst label I have ever seen. The graphics on the front label are very difficult to read and the font on the back label is probably size 4. A truly terrible label.” In response, I registered to post on this particular board where wine geeks commune and wrote this to the commentator:
I make the wine you commented on.
I thought I would let you know a bit about the wine label design you’ve decried.
If you’ve seen the back label, you may have noticed John Langdon’s name.
You can find out more about him here: http://johnlangdon.net/
It’s worth noting that John is internationally regarded for distinctive logo and art design and is the world leader in ambigrams. Don’t take my word for it, see his website and the breadth of work he’s undertaken for brands you’ll likely recognize. (brands like Aerosmith, John Mayer, Kelly Ripa, and the artwork in a small book/film sensation called the Da Vinci Code).
The front label is totemic, mirror image and symmetrical down the middle. The various mathematical and scientific approaches to presenting my long italian name play into the overall aspect of wine as both art and science. The rear label text is in the shape of a trullo, the same image you’ll find on the corks in my wines. Trullos are Unesco world heritage sites in Alberobello in Puglia, Italy where my grandparents are from.
I suppose that all of this is meaningless gibberish to someone who just doesn’t like the design, but I recall studying Byzantine and Renaissance art while in Florence as a college student. Much of the art from before Giotto, indeed room 1 at the Uffizi, was of no interest to me until I took the time to examine and appreciate the amazing story and development that singular room represents in the western cannon of art.
The wine is in fact sourced 100% from the Sierra Madre vineyard and is a pure expression of the fruit and the vintage from sandy soils with minimal intervention.
It’s true the font is smaller than I’d like, and we’ll hopefully ameliorate that going forward. Wine labels are a small canvas to communicate such a personal product.
I know not whether my note will be received by BEB since his posting was some months ago and it’s highly unlikely I’ll be hovering around that particular posting board in anticipation of a response. It is amazing how tightly knit the world has become, but some things continue to ring true. Like when momma said, “If you can’t say something positive, don’t say anything at all.”
PS: When I am forwarded or do come across people who post positive notes about my wines, I regularly extend special discounts to them for reorders.