Monday, October 25, 2010

A persistent wine

The first New Zealand artist we remember being represented on a wine label was Gretchen Albrecht back in the eighties for Collard Brothers. Billy Apple did a terrific label for a dessert wine with the bottles sold in Apple designed cartons. You could buy them at the local W&S merchant and Les Paris got a couple of cartons. He always regarded them as art works as much as we tried to get him to open a bottle or two. Nowadays there are not only artist labels on wines but artist wines themselves as in the Dick Frizzell line. The most recent contender is Martin Poppelwell who is partnered up with The People’s Wine people. Strangely, the Frizzell, Poppelwell and wine merchants Glengarry have all gone for the same kind of primitive in-your-face graphic style with shaky lettering, populist imagery and awe-shucks messaging. If it’s an art movement, it’s probably Struthism.