Label Designs and the CAST Creative Lab

There is a trend towards more modernity in the design of wine labels. As wine drinkers are trending younger, this emerging market is being met with more art-forward, Instagram appropriate label designs that are devoid of what you would call the typical information that we all thought was required in accordance with TTB. The new more art-forward renderings take advantage of a loop-hole, where really, all that information that used to be on the front of the label, is OK on the back. In fact, legally, the back of the label is considered the “front label” so this is where the information has to be, legally. It’s not confusing, but definitely counter-intuitive. 🙂

Here at CAST we wanted our Creative Lab’s four experimental wine labels to be an extension of the personality of the wines themselves.  The team sat down and brainstormed about the characteristics of each, considering the wines as people: their personalities, their interests and appearances, as well as the flavor profiles of the wines themselves.  These personal attributes were developed into draft ‘mood boards’ that communicated not only the personality of the wines, but the visual feel or tone, color pallets and associated artifacts. To bring it back to the CAST brand we included a hint of something recognizable from the winery landscape: these artifacts were integrated into the designs and were integral to the story of the wine personas we developed.

This process of mood-boarding is a key component to many design disciplines as it not only helps set the visual tone and personality for the design, or branding theme, but it is the first step to connecting to the client’s visualization of the end product.  It is in this stage that the broad concept can be approved by the client (in this case the client was our Proprietors Ann & Jack).

The mood boards not only informed the label designs but became a marque element within the packaging inserts as a peek into the process and was really received positively by our CAST Creative Lab subscribers. Below are the mood boards and completed labels for each of the Creative Lab’s experimental wines. . .


Grenache Nouveau, 2020
Grenache Nouveau, biodynamically farmed

The Grenache Nouveau “go your way” spoke to us as female, confident, sparking and quirky (wears the outrageous hat to the party). She is  a surprising, unrefined character. Full of confidence and kitsch, someone who comes in with a glorious smile on their face. The storied extrovert in the room that you MUST to meet. The artifact picked for this wine was the old Dodge, a storied artifact from the CAST landscape which ended up as the central graphic of the design as it help us communicate the idea of  a life well-traveled. While enjoying this wine we suggested listening to a playlist featuring Lana Del Ray.

This is a comforting wine that is ideal with comfort food. There is nothing fancy about this charming wine, it is just loaded with easy pleasure. We suggest  wood-fired pizza,  flame-broiled burgers or chicken tagine with green olives, or even cut through the richness of a crispy skin duck breast!  We also suggest serving with a light chill. A half hour in the fridge should do the trick. 


Pét Nat of Old Vine Zin, 2020

For the Pét Nat of Old Vine Zin “fearless” the persona that came to mind was the vintage man, who after all these years still radiates courage and swagger. Like the old vine, we are wrong to assume he might be too old or “out of style.” He still carries that irresistible, unrefined appeal. “Rooty,” our iconic teak root bench that greets you on your way to the CAST beach was chosen as the keystone artifact as its rugged silhouette reminds us of harsh desert elements, bones in the sand. The helmet pays homage to the dare devils who put themselves out into the world, with unapologetic gusto. While enjoying this wine we suggested listening to a playlist featuring  “Derek Trucks.”

The color of this Pét Nat of Old Vine Zinfandel is a deep primrose pink. The mouth feel is juicy, lively, plush, and bubbly. Strawberry candy, ripe pluot, bubble gum, and berry pie dominate the nose.  On the palette, it shows lemon verbena, ripe pluot, baked berry pie, watermelon candy, with a finish that’s peppy and clean. We suggest serving chilled. Thirty minutes in the fridge will do the trick. 


Pét Nat of Pinot Noir, 2020

Pét Nat Pinot

This Pét-Nat Pinot spoke to us as female, feisty-fun and playful. Maybe not the girl you bring home to meet mom, but the one you’ll definitely dance the night away with – the life of the party. The thought here was that trusty old grape varietal can still surprise us and bring us this spirited, effervescent, one-of-a-kind, super-rare wine, only for the adventurous and open minded. While enjoying this wine we suggested listening to a playlist featuring Studio 54.

This bright and dry fruit-forward wine is ready to drink now. Its fizzy dry palette is perfect while guests are arriving on a warm evening: a delicious aperitif that gets the  party started. Perfect in a Champagne glass for brunch, or in a plastic fizzio glass for a spirited lunch or picnic. Served chilled.



Wine Zinfandel, 2020

This White Zinfandel spoke to us as androgynous, without definition, a wine that has been misunderstood and should just be enjoyed, without any preconceptions or judgment. This wine was surprising as it has a delicious acidity and a crisp finish, not at all like the white zin we might remember from the 80’s. While enjoying this wine we suggested listening to a playlist featuring Connan Mockasin.

This wine expresses floral blossom, lemon grass, lemon verbena, zest, and high acid on the palate. On the finish, blanc de noire raspberry fruit and wet crushed stone. Enjoy with a grilled light white fish, a bright, crispy citrus salad, and of course fresh, raw oysters!


Love to hear your feedback!
Deborah Harkins




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