Beautiful inside and out
by Mairead Catterson, wine development manager at United Wine Merchants
Having studied History of Art as a student and having adored the subject, I was instantly drawn to the new ‘Santa Rita Reserva, National Gallery, limited edition range.’
Holding the beautifully packaged bottles in my hand got me thinking about two things. Firstly, the importance of labelling and secondly, the association between art and wine.
The wine bottle label sets expectations and prepares us for the wine drinking experience. In today’s crowded market, we rely on visual clues to help us make choices. Most people would agree that the label has a huge influence on how they select a wine. What does the label say about the wine? – is it suitable for a special occasion, is it a bottle we would bring to a BBQ or is it a bottle of wine we would bring as a gift to our boss’s house. Who is it meant for? A collector, a connoisseur, or an adventurous wine lover who will always be searching for a great find? The label helps communicate the wine’s identity, personality and quality. On the downside, sometimes winemakers use clever decoration to compensate for a weak product and sometimes the opposite happens, bad art scares people away from good wine!
So what about the classic association between art and wine? In my opinion, the link is in the appreciation of both as an expression of culture, beauty and sophistication. I believe wine can be as aesthetically pleasing as art. Historically, the world of wine and art is a comfortable union, with the time and energy spent producing a fine bottle of wine comparable to a work of art. Another comparison is that many works of art can relax us and take our minds on a creative journey. Art can be an outlet for escape from daily stresses and can transport us, affording us time to chill out and unwind. Both can stimulate a sensory reaction.
Many winemakers are traditionally supporters of the arts. Some producers such as Chateau Mouton Rothschild, have commissioned famous artists to design their labels. Similarly, Vina Santa Rita is one of Chile’s oldest estates and has a rich history of supporting the arts. As mentioned above, they have recently joined forces with The National Gallery in a partnership celebrating art and wine! They have created a new line of special edition wines that have some of the museum’s most important paintings on their labels. The wines are currently available in Ireland, the UK and in different parts of the world, including the National Gallery’s museum shop in London. The National Gallery will use part of the proceeds from the sale of the special edition to help finance the museum and, by purchasing this special edition wine, our contribution will help ensure future generations can enjoy the paintings as we do today. The labels include iconic works such as Sunflowers adorning the Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon and A Wheatfield with Cypresses (both by Vincent Van Gogh) as the chosen label for the Reserva Sauvignon Blanc. Having tasted, drank and enjoyed these wines they are presently my new ‘go to’ bottle for all of the above mentioned occasions… special occasions, and BBQs, going to my boss’s house (waiting on an invite), as a collector’s item and when I am feeling adventurous and looking for a great find! These wines are beautiful inside and out!