POETRY IN WINE

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‘Wine is bottled poetry’ * declared Robert Louis Stevenson when visiting the vineyards of Napa Valley, California in the 1880s and winemakers around the globe now seem intent on bringing that poetry and creativity to the very names and labels of their products.

A few years ago there was a proliferation of wonderful and weird names to both white and red wines and although a more sedate marketing has taken over the business, there are still some lovely evocative label names as well as the more unusual and peculiar. 


A remarkable animal is celebrated in both the name and label of one South African wine. ‘Porcupine Ridge’ wine pays homage to the nightly visitors to the vineyard when it welcomes the crested porcupines. Their formidable spines and quills form an impenetrable defence barrier as they arrive in the dark, snuffling for food around the vineyard, forest and fynbos (small belt of natural scrubland or heathland).

‘Barefoot’ wine is a personal favourite of mine which I came across on my trip to Florida last year! The very first morning, before even unpacking or shopping for food, we walked barefoot along the beach – it was a feeling of pure pleasure and exhilaration and when we later spotted the quirky-named ‘Barefoot’ with its delightful drawing we knew we had to buy it. 

Just as we had relished the free sensation of walking barefoot, so the wine name encapsulates the belief ‘that when you follow your heart there’s no limit to how far your vine will grow’. It is a wine that doesn’t want to take itself too seriously and flourished from its free-spirited 1960s start in a garage.

blackstump‘Black Stump’ wine of Australia supposedly traces its name back to the 1830s and a landmark ruling following a boundary dispute in the state of New South Wales. In that case, the surveyor had ‘pointed to some old stumps, which he said had been marked…defendant would not admit that the cross line marked by me on the plan was not part of his boundary…he said it ran to a black stump beyond the line, which he said had been marked….’

However, this historical basis for the name is in contention as it is also claimed that ‘Black stump’ is the name for an imaginary point beyond which the country is considered remote or uncivilised, an abstract marker of the limits of established settlement. 

Others believe the expression originated from the use of black stumps in the landscape used as markers when directing travellers – to me, this seems the most likely!

Many wine names are derived from the location of the vineyards which is the case for the captivating scenery pictured on ‘Oyster Bay’. Their tagline is ‘Sometimes the world really is your oyster’ as they want their wine name and flavour to bring the promise to their customers of the remote beauty of their part of New Zealand. The family-owned vineyard ensured that climate became an asset for them as the colder nights but warm days create the long grape growing season.

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The very landscape that features on their labels is beautiful and almost lyrically captured in their description of the area.

‘The story of Marlborough’s soils starts a little while back, around 18,000 years ago. So in the scheme of ancient wine regions, we are considered to be quite young.

Once a towering glacier, the plains of Marlborough’s valleys are the trail of its slow (yes glacial) retreat. In the distance, the stern Southern Alps are guardians and providers. Their foundations are broad, but lie upon two tectonic plates that are perpetually moving in different directions.

This battle beneath the earth is only discernible by rocks sent down from the above. With purpose, the snow and rain fed rivers carry these away and over centuries smooth the harsh edges of their abrupt beginnings away. They spread across the valley floor, where our vines call home.

As the stones bask in plentiful sunshine, vine roots edge beneath to find nutrients. When the air cools at night, the stones share with the vines the warmth they have collected over the day, to help create the immaculate flavours synonymous with this special place.’

On a lighter note, ‘Cono Sur Bicicleta’ wine from Chile caught my eye with its cheerful watercolour label of the bikers in the countryside. The image and name of this pinot noir is a tribute to Cono Sur’s workers who travel around the vineyard on bicycles. The environmentally friendly aspect of the company is extended into its winemaking and only natural, often traditional, methods are used to tend the vines and make the wine.

Finally, who doesn’t like some comfort in their lives? This is particularly seen with the massive popularity of comfort foods and one Californian vineyard owner has taken this to a new level with the originally named ‘Comfort Wine / Custard Chardonnay’.  

Don August Sebastiani  came up with the concept of comfort wine the first time he inhaled the aroma of his chardonnay and realised he had “…a wine that reminds me of one of my favourite childhood indulgences ‐ Sunday morning glazed doughnuts with creamy custard filling…’comfort food’ before I even knew what that was.”

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I hope you have enjoyed learning a bit about the names of a few wines and this post is the promised follow-up to What’s in an Ale Name when I explored the stories behind the names of various beers…as a non-beer drinker I rather missed out on the tasting element and many bloggers kindly suggested I should write a post dedicated to wine names! Many thanks for the suggestion, I have heartily enjoyed my research, both the written and the tasting! 

‘There is more philosophy in a bottle of wine than in books.’ Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) French chemist/biologist.

* From The Silverado Squatters, 1883 by Robert Louis Stevenson, (1850-1894) novelist, poet, essayist, travel writer.

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128 thoughts on “POETRY IN WINE

  1. Dina says:

    I had to smile as I read your bottled poetry, Annika. What a lovely post and a good idea for a topic. Some of your wine choices are familiar to me and the others I’d like to get now. 🙂
    Looking forward to the quirky ale names! 😉
    Cheers!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Hanne (hope that’s right?)! 😀 The quirky ale names started it off as we sat discussing what they could mean and where they derived from…so many bloggers suggested I write about wine names – a challenge I was only too eager to accept as I like wine but not beer!! Enjoy trying the ones new to you….and perhaps you know some other unusual names with a story behind them!Cheers & Skål! 🍷🍷😀❤️

  2. Tina Frisco says:

    My father and uncle made wine every year while I was growing up. We had the grapes and my uncle had the press. The jug got passed around the table on holidays and special occasions. Good memories… 🙂 xx

  3. Carol Balawyder says:

    Annika, I thoroughly enjoyed your post and your photos of scenery are wonderfully peaceful. I love the concept of Comfort wine. I never heard of it but will try it. One of my favorite wines is Cupcake. At first, I hesitated buying it because I found the name frivolous and then when I did try it it quickly became one of my favorites. Just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover or better wine by its name.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Carol, your comments are always a delight and I’m smiling at your last sentence! 😀 Us folk are so quick to judge…whether by cover, name etc…I would have just the same reaction to Cupcake wine and did when another blogger mentioned it earlier…glad it’s a good wine even with a frivolous fun name and one I’ll have to try and find here. Another great one for dinner conversation!😀 Oh, I got quite carried away googling vineyard photos, such wondrous expansive landscape, lush green and then so many photos for bunches of grapes…no wonder it takes a while for me to write these posts!!

  4. Khaya Ronkainen says:

    If “wine is bottled poetry”, pass me the bottle! Porcupine Ridge, please…thank you.😀
    Brilliant and informative post, Annika. Those wines from the Southern Hemisphere are, of course, familiar but it would lovely to try some in your list!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Khaya, the Porcupine Ridge does have a certain cuteness factor which pulls at the heartstrings, doesn’t it! 😀 This is is still unopened and I look forward to trying its contents! Yeah, I’m so glad you liked the post, a great one to write and I could have gone on and on. I hope you get a chance to try some on the list…the UK even has a few vineyards now though I must admit to not having tasted any, it just seems a bit too far North!

  5. Mike says:

    Very interesting post Annika. Love the video too. I intended to write something profound about wines but after sampling a bottle I can’t think of what I was going to say! Hic……….

    • Annika Perry says:

      Haha!! 😀 😀 Very funny…hic, indeed! 🍷🍷 You do know you don’t need to try all these bottles in one go?! 😃 Glad you liked the post and found the video, I dithered about putting it onto the main post but thought it would look too cluttered. Happy Wine Tasting…any favourites yet?

  6. Sharon Bonin-Pratt says:

    Annika, this is a wonderful post. I enjoyed reading about the histories behind each vineyard and label. I don’t drink as I can’t even taste the difference between red and white wines, but I do like to bring wine as a hostess gift to someone’s house. I always choose by label, looking for pictures and names that pique my imagination. Horses, trees, and landscapes impress me most. Some of my selections bring smiles to the folks who get my “gift,” others bring rolling eyeballs – and snorts as they try again to explain to me the qualities of the wine beyond the label. You gave me new fodder to continue choosing my way – I’m going to tell everyone that Annika said this is the way to do it!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Sharri, I better get ready to duck in case some of these don’t measure up! 😀 I must admit that I still haven’t really read about the grapes, weather etc of these wines but having tried Oyster Bay and from the glowing comments here I think that is a safe bet for a hostess gift! You’ll have to let me know what your friends think of the other ones mentioned here. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post in spite of not being a wine drinker – there’s nothing like an interesting story, no matter what the subject matter! 😀

  7. leonaandalexander says:

    Barefoot Pinot Grigio is one of my favorite “go-to” wines! Cupcake is also pretty good. I know it’s never a good idea “to judge a book by its cover”, but I’ve found some pretty great wines based on the appeal of the labels. One I’m excited to try and liberally pass around during the upcoming holidays, if for nothing more than the laughs, is the Pinot Grigio, Family Time is Hard! Truth and levity all in the same little bottle!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Snap! 😀 Pinot Grigo is the one wine we always have at home and it always delivers…I realised how dependant I’d become on this whilst researching for the post and enjoyed trying new ones which were so delicious! Labels are meant to sell and they do a great job – I’m a sucker for them too! ‘Family Time is Hard’!!!😃😀 I had to google to see if this was for real! This one I have to try and thank you for mentioning it here. Brilliant! That is a topic of conversation for any dinner party! Haha! 😀 Yes, truth and levity and one bottle! 🍷 Many thanks for your great comment and a warm welcome to my blog. 🌻

  8. Sue Dreamwalker says:

    Wow Annika, you have educated me on these wine labels and weaved within some wonderful analogies.. Many years ago my husband and I would make our own wine.. Some of our best were Strawberry and parsnip.. The best however was a Rhubarb, It took two years to clear. but it was pure nectar.. 🙂
    A fascinating post 🙂 And wishing you Cheers for the week ahead.. 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Wow! 😀 Rhubarb wine…with your lovely description of it as pure nectar you’ve sold me! Have you ever made any again? Strawberry and parsnip sound like an interesting combination – I’m in awe of anyone with the patience and dedication to make their own wine. Sue, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and the stories I wove between; I always try to put my own ‘spin’ on my posts. Wishing you a lovely week and yes, Cheers! 😀🍷

      • Sue Dreamwalker says:

        No we didn’t as we moved home and the jars got stored and we hadn’t the room to let them ferment as before.. The strawberry and parsnip were both separate wines.. I would love to make the Rhubarb again.. Now I am retired who knows.. if hubby ever clears enough space in the garage for me.. LOL.. The Rhubarb was made using an old book of wine making I got on in car-boot sale. It had loads of old recipes in. You do not find the old fashioned recipes often. 😀 and happy it grabbed your interest Annika .. As your post did to me.. 🙂

        • Annika Perry says:

          Haha! 😃 I had to laugh at you waiting for your husband to clear the garage…I’m at the same stage and I think my subtle and not so subtle hints might bear fruit this weekend as I want to actually reach my gardening things and bulbs from earlier in the year! Oh, you should definitely give some of those old wine recipes a go…with such good results earlier and I bet there are lots you haven’t tried yet.

  9. Aquileana says:

    Fascinating post, dear Annika… I love that you included , ‘Cono Sur Bicicleta’ from Chile… we have wonderful vineyards here in Argentina, mainly in the province of Mendoza (it shares borders with Chile, BTW). I hope that you get the chance to give any of these a try anytime….
    Love your post….. Malbec Cheers 😀

    • Annika Perry says:

      Aqui, thank you so much for your lovely comment and I would definitely have included an Argentinian wine had I found one! When I started looking up wines from Argentina after reading your comment, the first one that came up was Malbec!! That must be a sign and I’ll have to track it down…I did see a couple I’ve had before, very tasty. Cheers/ Skål to you, my friend! 😀🍷

    • Annika Perry says:

      Robbie, thank you so much – this was a lovely post to write and research…I was surprised at the lack of unusual names on the market though as a few years ago the shelves seemed to be flooded with quirky names and labels. 😀

  10. afairymind says:

    A fascinating post, Annika. I love the stories behind the names – especially Black Stump. The only wines in your list I’ve tried are Barefoot and Oyster Bay, though I might have to hunt out a few of the others… 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Louise, many thanks for your lovely comment and I’m so glad you enjoyed learning a bit about the names behind some of these wines. I wish you luck & fun hunting out some of these! 😀 So far I’ve only tried the Barefoot and Oyster Bay – the latter was delicious and so different to the Barefoot which I also love. 😀

  11. milliethom says:

    What an interesting topic to research Annilka. I could happily spend weeks researching this one. My husband decided a few months ago to ‘widen our experience’ of wines,and naturally, I didn’t object. We’ve sampled quite a few from around the world, but the only one we’ve had from your list above is the Oyster Bay. A lovely wine!
    I’m fascinated by the information you’ve presented about the labels. It’s amazing to think that all the little illustrations have such meaning and the first two names are such fun. Thank you for such a delightful (or should that be ‘delicious’) post.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Haha, Millie! 😀 Both delightful and delicious, I hope! 😀What an excellent idea from your husband and I had to smile that naturally you didn’t object…neither would I! I have a feeling you encountered some interesting wine names and flavours …do any come to mind? It’s lovely sharing wine details here and it’s becoming a mini-wine 101! Thank you so much for your lovely comment … it’s been a joy to read. Continued Happy Wine tasting…think I might suggest this as well…for research purposes of course! 😀

      • milliethom says:

        We’ve come across several wines (or vineyards) we hadn’t heard of, Anna, and I’d be happy to share some of them with you once I get home. We’re down in Winchester at the moment and won’t be home until the weekend. My husband has been ordering cases of mixed red and white wines (online) from Laithwaites, so we take a chance on what we get. Most have been nice – although we’ve given more to our ‘brood’ than we’ve had ourselves. I suppose buying in bulk has its merits, although you may well get some you don’t like. There have been different Proseccos in there, too, which is probably my favourite at the moment. I loved your post. It was a nice and original topic.

  12. Jacqui Murray says:

    What a collection, Annika! I’ve noted all of them. Since I’m not a wine connoisseur, I tend to select wines by their labels–ones that will spark conversations over dinner. These all qualify, especially with your background info.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Jacqui, I see our wine buying techniques are similar! 😀 And I also like leaving the bottle on the table and often a conversation ensues over it…always interesting. Now you can add extra titbits of information on these wines! 😀 Have you come across any unusual or striking wine labels or names recently…

  13. Cynthia Reyes says:

    A refreshingly different post — whether one likes wine or not!
    I do and I’m always taken by the unusual names of some wines (though I tend to buy based on personal knowledge or that of others’). Wishing you a good week, Annika!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Cynthia, this post is all about wines…but mostly so the stories so I hoped it would appeal to all who enjoy a good tale and the creative spirit of man! 😃 It’s so easy to get hooked by the names or labels of wine (holding my hand up here!) – well done for resisting and using your or others personal knowledge. Here’s to a good week to you too…Cheers! 🍷😃

  14. reneejohnsonwrites says:

    I think wine opens a creative channel that brings out the poetry in us all–whether sipping a glass or perusing names. It’s fun to visit the wine store and see the various bottlers but you’ve taken that a step deeper here. Great post! Cheers!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Renee! 😀😃 I love your comment and yes, wine is itself poetic but also brings out the poetic creativity within us! Here’s to many such moments…sipping with a notebook by one’s side…😀

    • Annika Perry says:

      Andrea, I’m a sucker for stories…wherever they may hail from!😀 Once I started looking at the wine names I became hooked and I’m glad you enjoyed the stories behind the labels as well! 😃

  15. dgkaye says:

    Fantastic post Annika. And I love the quote “Wine is bottled poetry”. You did a great job of researching some yummy wines, like Barefoot. It’s amazing how labels attract buyers before they even taste. Some of my favorite wines are from Australia. 🙂 xx

    • Annika Perry says:

      Many thanks, Debby and so glad you liked the quote – it was a find to come across it and sorted out the beginning of my post! 😀 I’d been struggling with just the right start! After all my ill-spent childhood watching TV crime series, I think I secretly wanted to become an investigator – I have to make do with researching posts like this…which is lots of fun and a joy to share here. Australian wines dominated here in the UK a few years ago but since then a lot of other countries have come into the market place as well. xx

  16. Clare Pooley says:

    What an interesting post, Annika! I don’t drink at all now but used to enjoy a glass of wine now and again. I love looking at the varied labels on the wine and beer bottles too.

  17. Sunshine Jansen says:

    I have been a fan of Marlborough sauvignon blancs for a while now but never bothered to research what makes them special – thanks for doing that for me! 🙂 We are having a reprise of summer here in the midwest of the US so white wine days linger… Cheers!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Ahh…lovely lingering summer days sounds heavenly…the heating has been on for the past few days! Well, I’m a convert to Oyster Bay now and feel this will have to share first place along with Barefoot! 😀I’m so glad you enjoyed the short stories behind the wines and their names…it definitely does add to the experience, I feel. Enjoy and yes…Cheers to you too! 😀🍷

  18. Julie Holmes, author says:

    Wonderful post, Annika! I’ve heard of a couple of these, but now I have more on my list to sample 😀 And the stories behind the names are always fun to read! Reminds me of a wine my uncle’s sister brought, one of the very few reds I like: 19 Crimes. Interesting story behind that one as well. I’ll let you dig around, and maybe we can get another wine post 😀

    Have a great rest of your weekend!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Julie, wow! Thank you for mentioning the 19 Crimes red wine – I’ve just been reading about it and watched the video with its wonderful cinematic feel and it’s as if I was transported along with the men…fascinating history, dramatic and based on real life. For anyone else interested the link is http://19crimes.com. If I see the wine this is one red I’ll have to try!!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the stories behind these more genteel labels and have a lovely time sampling. I’ll join you in spirit…Cheers! 😀🍷🍷

  19. Curt Mekemson says:

    Seems like I have spent a good deal of my life living in wine country, Annika. And the labels and names are always fun. As are the leisurely tours of vineyards! Thanks for sharing, Annika. I might add that Peggy has a bottle of Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio in our refrigerator right now! 🙂 –Curt

    • Annika Perry says:

      Haha! 😀 Good for Peggy…our fridge often sports a bottle of that too, as you might have guessed. I had to read this twice, Curt – you doing a leisurely tour?? Leisurely?? 😀😃 Only kidding, it must be a lot of fun to visit the vineyards and I’m sure the wine tastes particularly good after the personal tour (and clambering up and down the gantries etc)!😀

      • Curt Mekemson says:

        Wine does taste better, Annika. As to our ability to make a judgement on its quality… 🙂 The Applegate Valley is known for its up and coming wine industry. A growing number of vineyards cover the floor. There is competition now, however. The legalization of marijuana in Oregon has meant local farmers can make more money with pot farms. And many of them are taking advantage of the fact. They aren’t offering pot tasting tours, however. At least yet. 🙂 –Curt

        • Annika Perry says:

          😃😀Curt, I can’t stop laughing at the thought of the pot tours…I bet one day they will become a reality!! Sad to learn they’re taking the place of vineyards though…not a good thing.

          • Curt Mekemson says:

            For the most part, Annika, the wine growers and the pot growers are two different groups. So I am not sure the pot industry is hurting the wine industry. At least yet. Simple economics supports pot growing however. Land and overhead requirements are much less, profit is greater, and you can start making a profit in a few months as opposed to a few years.

  20. Baydreamer says:

    This is a lovely and informative post, Annika. I was captivated in the beginning when you mentioned Napa County, just an hour north of us. My husband and I have spent many weekends in Napa and Sonoma county, while enjoying wine tasting among the many, beautiful vineyards. Spring and Fall is our time to go when the hills are green or when the leaves are their stunning vibrant reds and oranges.
    The porcupine caught my attention, but some favorites are Barefoot and Oyster Bay. The thought of walking barefoot on the beach is wonderful and relaxing, along with the beauty of the bay around here, and of course, the tagline, “Sometimes the world really is your oyster.”
    Thanks for sharing! I’m ready for a glass, but it’s only 8:10am. 🙂 Have a great day! ❤

    • Annika Perry says:

      Lauren, that might be a tad bit too early for a glass of wine!😀 You might have to settle for a cuppa instead! ☕️. How wonderful to live so close to Napa Valley and have an opportunity to explore the vineyards … I love how you describe the colours of the leaves. I imagine you become quite learned on all wine matters with your visits – and return with a bottle or two! 😃Walking barefoot on the beach every morning was pure bliss, such wonderful memories and Barefoot has become our staple wine at home ever since…actually just about to open a bottle for Sunday dinner with the family! 🍷 Have a brilliant Sunday….strange to think you have the whole day ahead of you! Enjoy…and perhaps a glass this evening. 😀

      • Baydreamer says:

        Yes, I had a cuppa ☕️ instead, but will enjoy some wine 🍷 tonight. The time zones surely add some flair to blogging, don’t they? 😊 I hope you enjoyed your dinner and now are enjoying a relaxing evening. 🍂🍁

  21. Miss Gentileschi says:

    What a wonderful post, Annika! I really enjoyed the pictures and reading about this unknown to me wines and love the beautifully handcrafted labels of them! The porcupine is my favorite, it looks so lovely and quirky 🙂 Sadly I can not indulge myself in the wonderful world of wines, my stomach can´t handle the acidity, but I do love eating grapes 😉 That´s why I prefer ales and such 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Sarah! 😀 I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and photos – they quirky porcupine is lovely, I agree – it looks a bit lost! Wine can definitely be too acidic and especially so if sensitive – at least you can enjoy the ales! Owing to allergic reactions I can only enjoy a glass of ‘safe’ white wines now and then…a treat though! 😀

      • Miss Gentileschi says:

        You´re very welcome, Annika! It´s always a pleasure to read your posts! 🙂
        And poor you for being allergic to wine! Or is it something else you´re allergic to and it´s “just” a cross allergy? Anyway, I´m glad you can enjoy at least one glass of this divine drink 🙂
        Have a lovely week! xo

  22. L. T. Garvin, Author says:

    What a lovely and interesting tidbit of wine label history. I liked the Oyster Bay one and the premise that the world could be your oyster in New Zealand. I ‘ve heard it is so extraordinarily beautiful there that I have no doubt it is a fitting tagline. Great post, Annika!

    • Annika Perry says:

      At first, I wasn’t sure if the tagline was a bit cliche, but once you see the landscape and with such a fitting name, they’re forgiven! It does give you pause for thought…the whole world is out there for us to explore..!😃 So glad you enjoyed the post, Lana…I think I’m becoming addicted to labels…wonder what I can do next?! 😀

      • L. T. Garvin, Author says:

        Well, the labels are pretty good material, Annika. I can’t think of any interesting products off the top of my head, but there must be more. Yes, I’ve been told many times that New Zealand is a true paradise.

  23. Behind the Story says:

    My daughter lives in wine country in eastern Washington State, so we’ve gone to quite a few wine tastings. One favorite winery is Fourteen Hands in Horse Heaven Hills. It’s named in honor of Eastern Washington’s wild horses and their height as measured in “hands.”

    I’m a sucker for beautiful labels and also for photos of grapes.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Nicki, that is a terrific name and thank you so much for sharing the history of the name…Is this a white wine? Do they only sell locally? How wonderful to have the chance to go to so many vineyards whilst visiting your daughter…a great trip out and isn’t it great how they always end with wine tastings! A must! 😃 Yeah, another fan of labels and they have become wonderfully creative and unique over the years luckily!

  24. Fictionophile says:

    How could I not comment on a blog post about wine! Annika I love trying out reds with unusual names. The last time I went wine shopping I purchased a bottle called “The Lackey” that has a work boot on the label, and one called “Mr. Black’s little book” with, you guessed it, a book on the label. The latter is my favorite, both in taste and in label.
    BTW, I enjoyed a few bottles of Barefoot this summer.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Wow! 😀 These are both terrific names and I can’t believe you found one with a book on the label and name – of course, that has to be your favourite, Lynne! 😀’ve never heard of these before and must admit I was a bit disappointed by the dearth of unusual names – thank you so much for sharing these. Oh yes, a glass of chilled Barefoot out in the garden in summer is pure bliss. 🍷🍷

  25. roughwighting says:

    The older I get, the more I savor a good wine. I did used to buy a wine because of its name (much like I – very infrequently – bet on a race horse based on its name). I’ve spent a lot of time in the Napa Valley when I lived an hour away, and learned about grapes and different variations of flavors. Then I learned what kind I liked most, and now I’m probably too particular about what wine I drink. :-0 But sipping a good wine, slowly, with good friends and cheese and crackers, is a civilized way to live. 🙂 FUN post.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Wow! You lived so close to Napa Valley – how exciting! I feel you should be writing a post about that! 😃 I know nothing at all about wines by comparison! 😀 As a student, it was always a matter of buying the cheapest but later I also would buy a bottle after looking at the label, both the name and picture – not very learned approach, I know!!

      Pam, I agree wholeheartedly with your last sentiment; here’s to sharing wine & crackers! Cheers! Skål! 🍷🍷

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you, Brigid…the post is very much about the stories behind the labels and I’m glad you enjoyed the personal touches here and there! 😀The Barefoot wine will always be dear to me from my wonderful holiday and the first morning we saw it on the shelves…and yes, comfort wine sounds like a great concept but I’m not convinced about the custard part – one I’d have to test! 😃

    • Annika Perry says:

      Bette, thank you so much! 😃 Drinking the odd glass of wine has become much more interesting too since all the research! So glad you liked Stevenson’s quote…I was struggling how to start the post and when I came across his words all became clear and the rest wrote itself! 😃

  26. Clanmother says:

    I did not know that Robert Louis Stevenson visited the Napa Valley. I especially enjoyed your quotes (you know how I love quotes) and the way you integrated us within your experiences.. Wine has a marvelous history which has been woven into our mythologies. I can hardly wait for your next post.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Apt you should mention the myths of wine, Rebecca as I came books on the topic whilst researching for this post as well as a book of poetry all about wine! 😃

      Oh yes, you can never have too many quotes and I always enjoy the ones you share…they often take me further as I look up the writer/book etc…journey of discovery and learning.

      Stevenson was in California on a two-month honeymoon (when still quite poor) and I pulled a bit out about his trip from Wikipedia and put it on my reply to Bernadette below if you are interested.

      So glad you’re looking forward to my next post…often I wing it until a few days before…look forward to seeing you here again…you’re most welcome. 😀🌻

  27. D. Wallace Peach says:

    I don’t drink much, Annika, but you made me want to find a wine shop, browse the labels, and take a few stories home with the bottles. What an informative, dreamy romp around the world of wine. Now, I know exactly what I’m going to do for the hubby’s birthday. Thanks!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Diana, so happy to give you an idea for your husband’s birthday present! I hope he enjoys them! 😃 I’m a sucker for stories and think I’m becoming hooked on labels…and the stories behind them. This wine one was a lot of fun…reckon the bottles will last a long time yet. Enjoy browsing and hope you find some great tales! 😀

  28. JC says:

    Annika, this is fabulous, I would not know where to start tasting these wines but I’m sure I’d find my way. And how much fun would that be. It is amazing and educational learning how all these labels came about. I do remember the post you did on beer. Thanks for posting this… jc

    • Annika Perry says:

      Ahh…many thanks for remembering the beer post! 🍺 Thank you also for your great comment and yes, the labels were so interesting and once I started looking up more information I became quite carried away! 😃

    • Annika Perry says:

      Haha! 😀 Jill, I’m tickled by your comment and am dreaming of that alternative career…I did marketing as part of my degree and loved it – I’m imagining the perks of working in a vineyard…of course, I’d have to taste all the products! Okay…no more time to write…packing for vineyards of France/California/New Zealand/Chile!!😃

      I’ve got a bottle of Barefoot chilling in the fridge…a glass each…cheers! 🍷😃 Seriously I would love to share a glass with you too…when we went to the States last year we initially wanted to go to North Carolina but it was impossible to fly direct there alas. Some other time maybe.

  29. Osyth says:

    There are some beauties in your list .. Barefoot and Oyster Bay I enjoy when back in England. Here in France most of the wine-makers are a little stuffy in their marketing but occasionally a wit is allowed to shine. I really enjoyed this post and thanks to Bernadette for sharing it 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Osyth, a warm welcome and thank you for visiting from Bernadette’s excellent blog, she’s one special, thoughtful lady.!😀 I’d heard that French winemakers can be a bit stuffy and stuck in the ‘old’ ways…a bit of creativity is only a positive thing, I feel! I tried Oyster Bay for the first time last night and it was delicious.🍷

      • Osyth says:

        Thank you Anniversary … what a lovely welcome – I only have good things to say about Bernadette. She is truly one of life’s lovelies. Glad the Oyster Bay was a treat. Tradition here in wine and in food is the foundation of society at some level and France is VERY protective of her traditions. However, I am sure that there is a place for a nice wine with a cute name …. Santé to you!

  30. restlessjo says:

    Oyster Bay have sold me with that description, and I think I may have seen it on shelves around here. I feel a little investigation is called for. 🙂 🙂 Hope you’re having a suitably relaxed weekend, Annika.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Happy investigating, Jo…I bought this in Sainsbury’s and had a glass last night and can highly recommend it! 😃Yep, I’m having a lovely relaxed weekend – a Robert Redford/ Jane Fonda film last night a real treat .

  31. Bernadette says:

    Annika, well I found out this morning that not only do we share the same tastes in books and movies but also wine. There are several of the above wines you talked about that are my favorites. I particularly like Oyster Bay on a hot day. Going to New Zealand has been on my bucket list ever since I saw the movie version of the Hobbit that was filmed there. The wine quotes are fabulous and I didn’t know that Stevenson did some travel writing and this is after reading a lot about his life!

    • Annika Perry says:

      The landscape of New Zealand is sublime, so stunning and I’m not surprised this is on your bucket list, Bernadette – and I hope you get a chance to travel there someday. If so, you’ll have to visit Malborough and the vineyard.😃 I’ve just tried Oyster Bay for the first time this weekend and found it delicious, packed with flavours and stronger aroma than most whites.

      Having read up about Stevenson I see he went to California on a two-month honeymoon which they spent ‘ in an abandoned three-story bunkhouse at a derelict mining camp called “Silverado” on the shoulder of Mount Saint Helena in the Mayacamas Mountains. There they managed to “squat” for two months during a pleasant California summer, putting up makeshift cloth windows and hauling water in by hand from a nearby stream while dodging rattlesnakes and the occasional fog banks so detrimental to Stevenson’s health.

      The Silverado Squatters provides some interesting views of California during the late 19th century. Stevenson uses the first telephone of his life. He meets a number of wine growers in Napa Valley, an enterprise he deemed “experimental”, with growers sometimes even mislabelling the bottles as originating from Spain in order to sell their product to sceptical Americans. ‘ (from Wikipedia).

  32. ateafan says:

    So interesting. I did not know the lore around ‘black stump’. What a great post! Wine doesn’t agree with me but I’d make an exception for Oyster Bay at Christmas! I am curious about where you got the photo of Marlbough from? Did you take it? Beautiful photos.

    • Annika Perry says:

      I wish I’d been there to take a photo – alas not! 😀 The photo of Marlborough is one I found on google, the blue hues of the sea, sky and mountains are astonishing. I tried Oyster Bay for the first time last night and loved it, packed with flavours…I’ve become allergic to red wines alas and can only drink a glass of certain white wines…if I get it wrong I come out with huge flu-like side-effects – not fun! Luckily Oyster Bay was fine. ‘Lore’ is definitely the word for the stories behind some of these labels! 😀

      • ateafan says:

        Me too! But double alas, doesn’t matter if the wine is red or white 😦 My husband and I camped in Marlbourgh once & didn’t want to leave – but we had run out of food. So we tried to live by hunting and gathering shellfish – luckily other generous campers arrived with bread and butter!!

  33. delphini510 says:

    Annika, “Wine is bottled poetry” you quote – and so is your post.
    Absolutely wonderful. In an entertaining and lyrical way you give us so much information and delights. And the bottles seem to grow in your garden ?! 😉 . Have to come for a visit.

    I am enthralled with your pictures and stories around the names of the wines. Didn’t even know what Porcupine was….Black Stump was one I found some years ago but didn’t know the fascinating story behind.
    I do love the Barefoot Wine – my favourite name as it reminds me of barefoot walks.
    Also. Bicicleta. How sweet that the workers bike to save getting fuel contamination into the grapes.

    Will enjoy wine even more now….Cheers 🍷
    miriam

    • Annika Perry says:

      Haha! 😀😀 Wine bottles growing in my garden would be an achievement indeed!! I just take any opportunity to be outside and showcase the plants! 😀😀 Yeah, another Barefoot wine fan…after trying the Oyster Bay I can also highly recommend this…see what you think…

      Miriam, many thanks for your kind comment, your words are so warm and generous – it has been a delight to share this information and a joy to research and ultimately I’m so happy others enjoy reading.

      Oh yes, I love the idea of the bicicleta wine and they have a promotion video and in it you can often see the bikes in the background. Very sweet and evocative. Here’s the link.

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