Held or Holstered: the Re-Design of the La Cuadrilla Label

Held or holstered on their belts, each Cuadrilla member spends thousands of hours a year with their most used tool. Pre-Pruning, pruning, green dropping, and harvesting are all done with their picking shears. The image of the simple instrument best represents Cuadrilla’s day-to-day work. It’s also a proud badge for all of us at Stolpman Vineyards. In our experience, mechanization never trumps the human touch when it comes to quality of wine.

laquadrillaThe Cuadrilla label has evolved greatly since its early days. The first label was a rudimentary drawing of hands holding each-other towards the sky in a show of team work or unity. As the program grew, we decided that label was a bit too funky and defaulted back to our standard “Stolpman” package.
LaCuadrilla_HeadlampsFor the 2009 vintage, we decided upon a slight modification of the label to illustrate the Cuadrilla members picking at night donning their headlamps. The lights wound up as gold dots with a white layer of ocean fog in the valley below. We tried our best to fit in as much as possible about the crew’s dedication and the profit sharing program in tiny type face on the back label. I know I’m getting old now that I have trouble reading it!
LaCuadrillaBack2Inspiration for a new label hit me when I first saw Kari’s rough design for our crew’s annual harvest sweatshirt back in 2011. Incorporating a giant pair of clippers across the backs of sweatshirts, when worn – these shears truly became a badge of honor for the crew in the field. It’s only fitting that their 2011 La Cuadrilla wine bears the same mark.
Upon the 2011 La Cuadrilla Red Blend’s official release, I thought it would be interesting to hear how Kari developed this graphic.  As expected, her description is as captivating as her masterpiece:

A blurb from Kari Crist, our resident artist & creator of the new label:

LaCuad_LabelTexturePrior to my current gig acting as ‘yearbook editor in chief’ here at Stolpman – I ran with a different gang of ‘cool kids’ – running around with the pre-elite of the creative – the art student.  I found myself with a degree in commercial photography with no passion to exploit, no paycheck & a nagging inner voice to keep creating – start breaking all those rules they taught me in school.  I was desperate to melt together both analog & digital approaches to photography – so I started to experiment with different techniques of hand printing.  I just died when I was exposed to a series of works by Robert Rauschenberg in which he used the technique of Solvent Transfer to reprint newspaper cutouts into his paintings – the pulpy, grainy, imperfect nature of the technique was my own private top ten hit & became my muse-y medium from day one.

LaCuadrillaLabelFast forward to 2011 – Pete, being intrigued by my use of clippers to represent our La Cuadrilla on a sweatshirt design, approached me with the opportunity to create a new label for our Cuadrilla’s wine.  ‘Let’s keep the clippers – but the sky’s the limit as to how you visualize it.’  Awesome.  Freedom to put my own aesthetic spin into this project – I was sure we needed to ‘rough up’ the clipper graphic from the original sweatshirt design – I mean, have you ever seen La Cuadrilla’s hands during harvest? – we are just humble farmers after all – & I knew it had to be a Solvent Transfer.  The piece visually mimics our rustic approach to winemaking – simple, minimal manipulation, hands off; as well as texturally – the grit & grain can contest to a whole slew of parallels – from the literal texture of the tannin, to the countless hours of our Cuadrilla ‘gettin’ dirty’ in the vineyard.   La Cuadrilla is finally an entire package folks – a delight to stimulate all the senses – both visually & aromatically – with a pull at the heart strings, feel-good story attached – all to enhance your sipping pleasures!!  Enjoy :).

The 2011 La Cuadrilla ($22 retail) is available through our online store & retail wine shops upon its’ official release this Friday- April 5th, 2013.  Profits are shared with our full time vineyard crew.