When Michael and I were still working for a big publisher in London and were dreaming of making our own wine we often talked about wine labels and names. We loved to open a bottle of wine (most likely a natural) and discuss taste, smell, colour, label and name of the wine. We have always thought about this procedure as an outstanding and unique experience. The more exciting the wine the more we discussed. We were tough critics back then and there was rarely a bottle we found perfect.
Then the day came when we had to name our first wines and find a suitable label. To be precise: not only a suitable label but the PERFECT label and name. And suddenly it didn’t feel like an outstanding and unique experience anymore. There was pressure on us. We had all these awful wines and ugly bottles in mind we have come across so far and we were terribly afraid of failing in being creative. We wanted a story behind the names and not only call them Silvaner and Regent. I believe in a holistic approach: the product, its name and cover should be one. After many hours of brain storming – sober and drunk – I decided to write down relevant questions we could ask ourselves to start the creative process: What does the vineyard mean to you? What kind of music or band would it be (for Michael our Heimat Silvaner was definitely alt-J and our Kleine Wanderlust was something more easy listening). And we slowly realised that this way of approaching would really help us to find a name because we dealt with the product over and over again.
After many hours and long evenings all of a sudden there was the name Heimat Silvaner. For those who don’t speak German: Heimat means home. We didn’t call the wine Heimat Silvaner because we are proud Franconians. But as Silvaner is the traditional grape variety here there was an important connection between the wine and the homeland – the terroir. We didn’t come back to Germany because this is the country where we grew up. We came back for the wine, in order to fulfil our dream. In my opinion there is an obvious connection between the wine, the land and the people who made the wine. Our Heimat Silvaner is vital, earthy, delicate and pure.
And thanks to our talented designer Jens from ZENZ-ART you can find exactly this on the label. He used an old glass image which is painted on one of our office windows. It shows a man and a woman during the harvest at the turn of the century.
Funnily, the guy looks just like Michael with his hat and his beard. It was a lovely idea from Jens to include words on the front label which represent home for most of us: love, trust, security, tradition, family, responsibility and reliability. And for those of you who don’t speak German we added the phonetics of the word “Heimat”. We decided to include most information on the back label which makes the wine a bit more mysterious. The wine should be paramount. This is also the reason why we put our logo on the back label.
As the Heimat Silvaner is quite exquisite and we don’t have a high quantity we wanted to number the bottles by hand and cover the neck of the bottles with soft wax. It doesn’t really add extra protection against oxidation (we use DIAM corks in this case) – we just love the idea of creating a beautiful product.
It basically went the same way with our Kleine Wanderlust (Große Wanderlust will stay in the barrel until February 2015). We looked for a name which works internationally. And as Michael and I were wandering around quite a bit in our lives we liked the idea of choosing this being part of our wine. It also suits the meaning of wanderlust being a very strong and irresistible desire to explore foreign places. For us making wine without additives is new territory.
Choosing London’s skyline just felt natural to us. Michael’s brilliant idea of using our own pictures to represent it was the icing on the cake. We decided to go wild with the colours as this wine is quite fresh and young but not funky at all. It deserves a little bit of rock’n roll. Our Heimat Silvaner is more delicate and might taste a bit weird for some people who are used to conventional Silvaner. Therefore we have chosen a simple and elegant design because the wine speaks for itself.
After all I am still absolutely smitten with our first two wines. To me everything about them seems perfect. But maybe it is just the same as with your own kids: Before they are born you very much hope that they will look cute. And then they are born and you will never ever be afraid of your children not being cute. They mean the world to you and you think that you have never seen such beautiful children before.