Thursday, February 19, 2015

#WineLabelDesignAwards at Beau Constantia

Christian Eedes of Wine Magazine has come up with this novel annual competition conducted on line. On Tuesday night at Beau Constantia we were present at the award ceremony. There were certainly some controversial, some new and innovative, and some well deserved and long awaited choices amongst the winners. You can see them here for yourself
There was lots of discussion about what a wine label should contain and there were a couple that had very little information on the label. Is it enough to put just three random words “agile curious poised” that do not seem to relate to the wine and do not inform the buyer what they are/would be buying? As ex-wine retailers, we know that customers need to know what is in the bottle, as they will move swiftly on to something with clear information. We would like to see a retail sponsor fund a Retailers Award next year where the retailers can pick the labels they think will (or do), sell the best, visuals that jump out at the buyer
The overall winner, BlankBottle’s, labels were self designed with no input from professional designers; there did seem to be a few noses out of joint about that. And one award winner’s bottles looked like they were mock-ups with cardboard labels
MC for the evening, designer John Pace had printed his T-shirt for the event
He was also the one who came up with the very novel logo – a calligraphy pen shaped wine bottle
Views from Beau Constantia over the upper Constantia valley are beautiful, especially at late afternoon/evening
Christian Eedes and partner Jacqueline Lahoud checking the award table before the guests arrive
A lovely glass of Tradition bubbly to start the evening
The Constantia mountain top, with vines now growing almost to its summit
Irene Waller from La Bri, which was a bronze medal winner for their series of labels. She is with John Pace
Media, designers and wine people gathering
One of Beau Constantia’s vineyards
It’s time to announce the winners
Christian Eedes presented the awards
Wicus Maritz, MD of Rotolabel, the sponsor
Explaining in a very visual way
why you need a label
on a blank bottle
and what it needs to say
And how with good design you can turn information into something to admire and covet
Christian talking about the judges and the judging
John Pace announcing the winner
and Jacqueline revealed the labels as they were announced
Rozy Gunn from Iona with her award. They won awards for three of their labels: for Mr P He Knows, Sophie TeBlanche and for The One Man Band
Really nice to see Mulderbosch get an award from a label that has been with us for a long time, but breaks with tradition and represents their brand so well
These were some of the winning wines
A delighted Adam Mason and the designer accepting the award for his Marvellous Range labels
And the winner of the solid copper Trophy went to the Blank Bottle series. Peter Walser also won a gold for the Range and got the most votes on line. Most of his wines are marketed to private clients on line
It is a very impressive Trophy
Owner, winemaker and designer of his own labels, Peter Walser accepting his award. He is now making his wines at Lanrust. The back labels are interesting but to find out about the wine you have to use your phone to read the QR code and get the information downloaded from the internet
Some of his winning labels
Paserene (a swallow) has very little information on their bottles
(picture courtesy of
This is the back label for their red blend, Marathon. We all wanted to know what the blend was. In Platter it says "secret red blend"
All these wines will be on display at the Design Indaba this year. They were then opened and we had a chance to taste them all
Joy Norman and Justin Stevens had a busy evening pouring fast and furiously! Everyone was curious to taste wines they had not had before
Canapes circulated with the wine: Cucumber, biltong and peach. And were gratefully received
Beetroot and avocado
Pesto and tomato; and some smoky creamy cheese with roasted peanuts inside flame grilled courgette strips – very good indeed
Evening lights began to come on in the valley as we headed home
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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