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The Total Package: 6 Bottle Labels We Love

When it comes to beer and wine, what’s on the inside really counts, but there’s no denying eye-catching labels are what initially lure you in. A few local visionaries create packaging that’s not only informational but artistic, too—think bold lettering, distinct designs, and pretty pictures with soulful stories. Keep reading for a look behind six labels we love.

Chateau Davell

The labels of Chateau Davell’s wines are a physical representation of their guiding principle: family. In fact, owners Emily and Eric Hays chose to name their inaugural wine after their first-born child Charlotte. When she was born, Eric painted her newborn portrait on a wine barrel cap. When it came time to create a label for Charlotte’s Cuvée, they chose to feature her portrait as a loving tribute. Since then, every label has been adorned with one of Eric’s paintings.

Eric Hays; Photo by Dante Fontana © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


“There’s usually a correlation between a wine and the family member on the label,” says Eric. The James Pinot Meunier, for example, was made with organic fruit sourced in Sonoma County by Eric’s brother James. For their Zinfandel, Emily and Eric chose to feature their nephew, Zander, because they enjoyed the alliteration of Zander Zinfandel. Eric’s favorite portrait, however, is his grandmother gracing the Dolores Pinot Noir. “I think it really captures not only her image but also her personality,” he says.

Once Eric has decided what family member to paint for a bottle, he starts his artistic process by browsing old photo albums and digital artwork to create a vision. Next comes Eric’s greatest hurdle—starting to paint. But once he does, it becomes a form of meditation to him. “It helps me release my creative energy,” he says. Eric exclusively paints his label portraits using oils on wine barrel caps, except for some of the original labels that came from older paintings using mixed media. Once the painting is complete, it’s photographed and handed off to Emily, who designs a coordinating back-of-bottle label complying with TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) guidelines and sends it off to their label printer.

Chateau Davell


Chateau Davell’s family and friends gather quarterly to hand-bottle every wine—lovingly filling, corking, and waxing each one. Their final step is adhering the portraits to them. According to Eric, “Emily likes to complain about how tedious these days are, but she secretly loves spending a day laughing and catching up with our loved ones.”
3020 Vista Tierra Drive, Camino, 530-644-2016,

Findleton Estate Winery

A vineyard owned by a family of artists is bound to forgo bland labels and produce exquisite works of art for their wines. Pamela, the matriarch of the Findleton family, is the artist responsible for the stunning labels that adorn her namesake winery’s bottles. Working with watercolors, she creates a custom piece for every bottle. “Each painting tells a story and has a relationship with the varietal we pair it with,” Pamela says. Her personal favorite, 20 years and 36 varietals later, still remains the Carignon label—“a spiritual collaboration” with her late grandmother who was also an artist. While cleaning out her artist studio, Pamela found an old painting created by her grandmother, only to have it crumble in her hands when she picked it up. “Saddened at the loss, I immediately glued it to a canvas and started painting using water media.” This piece, still featuring her grandmother’s signature beside her own, now adorns the Findleton Carignon.

Pamela of Findelton Estate Winery; Photo by Dante Fontana © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


After a painting is selected for a particular wine, a high-quality image of it is sent to Pamela’s daughter Jeanetta, who has a background in fashion and graphic design. Jeanetta places it on the signature dark green Findleton label and pairs it with a new font. “We show off the artwork as much as possible and put all the legal requirements on the back or under the art. The paintings featured on our labels set us apart from other wineries; club members often come into our tasting room to purchase the artwork they fell in love with on the label,” says Jeanetta.
3500 Carson Road, Camino, 530-644-4018,

Findleton Estate Winery Label


Loomis Basin Brewing Company

The original labels that graced Loomis Basin’s bottles emulated fruit packaging labels—a nod to the city’s history as an orchard town. As the brewery has grown and switched to cans, however, they’ve updated their labels, holding tight to their roots by keeping the frame border, reminiscent of fruit crate labels from the turn of the century.

Ben Allgood and Brady Jones and taproom manager Clancy McCrory; Photo by Dante Fontana © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


Having worked with a variety of designers over the years, the brewery recently decided to try their hand at original designs with a collaboration between brewers Ben Allgood and Brady Jones and taproom manager Clancy McCrory. The process has been an adventure for these first-time designers, requiring them to test their creative juices and pick up new skills like Photoshop and Illustrator. They have enjoyed digging into original designs and revamping them for current use, as well as coming up with new puns for the bottom row of text found on every bottle. Something else the design team considers a must-have for every bottle? Color. “We like our labels to be bright, bold, and illustrated!” says Clancy.

Loomis Basin Brewing Company Label


Loomis Basin designs their labels by first selecting a central focus feature, such as the throwback ’90s shapes found on their Allgood IPA. In some cases, Clancy even draws her own central feature, such as the sword-wielding woman on the Nemesis Imperial IPA. Next, they decide on a coordinating background. For Clancy, “It’s really incredible to see a sketched-out design come to life.”
3277 Swetzer Road, Loomis, 916-259-2739,

Charles Spinetta Winery

Charles Spinetta has always enjoyed wildlife art. After meeting accomplished wildlife artist and graphic designer Joe Garcia on a hunting trip, he commissioned Garcia to create the winery’s first art labels, which also became the first full-color wine labels in the U.S.

Joe Garcia


Each label, either designed by Joe Garcia ( or Sherrie Russell Meline (, features wildlife in a different setting unique to Northern California wildlands. “Our labels evoke memories of enjoying wild spaces, and each painting shows an appreciation for wildlife,” says Charles’ son Anthony.

The artists begin their process with a sketch and then paint the animal—its pose, gaze, and the setting—with their choice of colors and technique, but it’s Charles who chooses which image belongs on which wine label. The artist’s images are then handed off to Paragon Label, who have won numerous printing awards for said labels.

Charles Spinetta Winery label; Photo by Ray Burgess © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


Charles Spinetta’s labels are works of art in muted colors and intricate detail. Due to their popularity, the Spinetta family have also screened the paintings onto T-shirts. “We’ve [also] issued a limited-edition print for each of our wine labels, and they seem to pop up everywhere. Walking into a restaurant, office, or lodge and seeing one of our label prints on the wall is always a treat,” says Anthony.
12557 Steiner Road, Plymouth, 209-245-3384,

Lone Buffalo Vineyards

When Phil Maddux told his wife Jill that he was launching his passion for winemaking into a micro-brewery and that she was responsible for naming the wines, she was excited to bring their story to life. Jill told Phil they weren’t going to have “boring” names that only stated what the wine was, but instead names that would reflect the vineyard, buffalo, and the wine itself. This determination to tell a story is embedded in all that Lone Buffalo Vineyards does, especially their labels.

Designer Darcey Self


The original Lone Buffalo labels boasted a modern design, but 10 years into the vineyard’s success, the Madduxes decided they needed new labels more representative of the vineyard. In collaboration with designer Darcey Self (, who stayed with the family to get a feel for what they’re all about, they chose to keep their buffalo logo and bring Native American inspiration to the labels. Nicknamed “Buffalo” for his burly build and collection of buffalo art, Phil visited a Santa Fe art gallery with Jill at the start of their venture and were stopped in their tracks by artwork featuring a buffalo walking “backwards” (from left to right), striking Jill as a symbol of holding back time. Jill knew then that this buffalo was the perfect logo for their vineyard—especially considering Phil’s love for history, traditional winemaking techniques, and naturalist lifestyle, and Jill’s studies in cultural anthropology.

Lone Buffalo Vineyards


 Every bottle of Lone Buffalo’s wine has three components: their trademark buffalo, a unique name, and a Native American symbol. For example, their signature wine, a Rhône blend, is named Where the Buffalo Roam and features a lodge. The lodge symbol, which looks like a wagon wheel, stands for “permanent home” in Native American culture. The Madduxes found it fitting for their signature blend, because they had uprooted the vineyard from South Auburn in 2013. Settling in North Auburn, where they had more land to expand their operations, Lone Buffalo Vineyards found its permanent home.
7505 Wise Road, Auburn, 530-823-1159,

New Glory Craft Brewery

What steers New Glory Craft Brewery’s design and marketing team when creating fresh labels is the company’s fun and lighthearted culture. Within their designs, they achieve this through bright colors and abstract patterns.

New Glory Craft Brewery’s design and marketing team


One of the team’s design goals is to create labels that catch the customer’s eye when perusing shelves of beer. “We want our cans to be Instagramable and expressive,” says marketing manager Stephanie Lewis. The hope is that each can is easily recognizable as a New Glory brew. The team is careful to avoid customer confusion amongst the bold designs though; the last thing they want are labels that force customers to hunt for information about what is within the can, says Stephanie. By keeping a few key design elements—like logo placement, color blocking, and type size—consistent across all designs, they achieve both clarity and branding.

New Glory Craft Brewery


To create new labels, the design and marketing team meets with the brewery’s production team to understand the brew’s flavor profiles, special processes, and the brewing team’s inspiration. With this information in hand, they can create labels that accurately represent the beer. Since 2016, they’ve collaboratively created 300 labels, with many more in the works.
5540 Douglas Boulevard, Suite 140 & 150, Granite Bay, 916-872-1721; 8251 Alpine Avenue, Sacramento, 916-451-9355

by Nelly Kislyanka

Photo of Eric Hays by Dante Fontana. Bottle photo courtesy of Chateau Davell. Photo of Pamela of Findelton Estate Winery and the Loomis Basin Brewing Company team by Dante Fontana. Joe Garcia photo by Anne Garcia. Other photo courtesy of Loomis Basin Brewing Company. Photo of Charles Spinetta Winery label on bottle by Ray Burgess. Photo of Darcey Self courtesy of Darcey Self. New Glory Craft Brewery photos courtesy of New Glory Craft Brewery.

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