Let me tell you the story of our lady of Riesling who appears on our labels. Many folks wonder what in heaven’s name this lady is doing on our labels and I thought it would be educational to remind everyone of the great history behind the label. Our inspiration is Venus, or Aphrodite in Greek, the Roman goddess of love, beauty and prosperity (all things acquired by drinking Riesling). According to legend, Venus was born from sea foam and rode to the shore in a sea shell (by the way shellfish + Riesling pair beautifully). She is born naked and pure, open to all the knowledge of the world – most beautiful and inspiring. Below is an old rendering from a wall painting in Pompei, Italy representing the birth of Venus.
Of course, the most famous rendering of the Birth of Venus is from Boticelli (see below).
Earlier this year I asked Randall Grahm to brief me on the idea behind the Venus and he wrote me this note: “The original idea for the label was to have a young, serious scholarly Asian woman w/ a big thick book ([for example:] Schopenhauer’s “Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung or in English, “The World as Will and Representation”). Obviously, this book is very dense, and despite her desire to be studious, the woman has fallen asleep and has begun to dream.” He then discusses the young Venus dreaming about a quant German village and captures the visual for the original label. “I was planning to sign off on the label at our meeting, intended to be held at a Mexican restaurant in Santa Rosa. Unfortunately the previous day, this restaurant had been closed by order of the local health department, and instead we dined at a Japanese restaurant. I saw the pictures of sushi on the menu, asked [for an] X-acta knife, and started cutting them out and placing them on the bottle. They appeared to swim when you looked at them.”
This sushi happenstance combined with our siren’s dream developed into the above label. We have since updated the label again to remove the sushi references but our Venus is still gracing the bottles of our Dry, Sweet and medium Rieslings as well as our Gewürztraminer and Chenin Blanc varietals.