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Transcript Episode Two: Wine Labels. Judging a Book by its Cover

Simone:
On this episode of the Drinky Drink show...

Jesse Inman:
Welcome!

Aaron Inman:
I like lions.

Jesse Inman:
I'm the most beautiful person I know.

Jesse Inman:
Hi, I am Jesse.

Aaron Inman:
I'm Aaron Inman.

Aaron Inman:
Today we're going to talk about wine labels. Mucho importante.

Jesse Inman:
Having a cool label can set you apart from another wine brand and so probably one of the most important things you can do when it comes to packaging. I don't think everybody realizes that. There's definitely some good ones, some bad ones and some misinformed ones.

Aaron Inman:
People say they don't like to judge a book by its cover, but the reality is they do.

Jesse Inman:
So today we want to give people a little bit behind the scenes. We've done this a few times, we've created several for brands and we've seen what works and what doesn't work.

Aaron Inman:
We've been in the game awhile, as they say.

Jesse Inman:
And so there's a lot of things you should and shouldn't do. Things we've learned over the last five labels that we've done, etc., and so it's nice to know like how do you get that whatever's on the bottle? We'll show you.

Aaron Inman:
When we got into the wine business, it was the mid 2000s. Our uncle had a brand called August Briggs. He built a winery in Calistoga. He had a silk screen with a gold leaf. We thought it was beautiful.

Jesse Inman:
Beautiful label. Everyone thought it was beautiful, very elegant.

Aaron Inman:
Made a big impact on us. So when Jesse and I started our first brand Romililly in 2006, we immediately went to silk screen with a gold leaf. It just made sense. We thought it was elegant. We were making $35, $40 bottles of wine. It's what we knew and we liked the aesthetic.

Jesse Inman:
Also very pretty.

Aaron Inman:
The label was a little safe in a lot of ways. And then when we decided to come out with Pinot Patch in 2011, it was kind of our answer to the recession. It was a lower price point wine. This was meant be on grocery store shelf at $12 bucks and we kind of wanted to have that vintage, you trust your mechanic, his name is Tom kind of...

Jesse Inman:
Reliability.

Aaron Inman:
Reliability, trustworthiness and that's why we went with this kind of old school patch and...

Jesse Inman:
Well, with the name Pinot Patch you can't do a whole lot. You're kind of stuck to a patch, so we made the patch look as good as we could. And then we had Lucky Rock and Lucky Rock was based on, the story is great. It's what everybody wants.

Aaron Inman:
Granted, it's our story and we love it a lot.

Jesse Inman:
It's our story. It's what everybody wants in the wine business, is a good story. We had a good story. The label was good, but it was again pretty safe. And so this one right here based on mining so that's the story right there.

Aaron Inman:
Right there.

Jesse Inman:
Perfect. But we wanted to steer away from the safeness that was Romililly and go a little bit more representative of ourselves. Yeah. Edgy. I mean we curse a lot. We have a lot of tattoos and we want to roll up our sleeves. Like we had our sleeves down with these two brands.

Aaron Inman:
Least intimidating tattooed guys you'll ever meet.

Jesse Inman:
Yeah, they're pretty cool. It actually started with a tattoo artist. He's been tattooing us for, I don't know, since we were 18 years old. And then-

Aaron Inman:
Faith Tattoo.

Aaron Inman:
By the time we got the Lucky Rock 2.0, we knew that we wanted to be ourselves on a wine label, but also we knew it had to stand out on a shelf. So we said let's do tattoo art. But tattoo art on a wine label can be very cheesy unfortunately.

Jesse Inman:
Especially a snake tattoo can be really cheesy.

Aaron Inman:
Yeah. And we were very cognizant of that. So we went through the whole design process. It took us about eight months and it was a lot of storyboarding. It was a lot of taking different concepts and basically collaging, a little bit of moolah and then Bill Kerr from Vertical Design, which is now part of Engine is Red, which is wonderful marketing firm, helped us. He really allowed us to take our ideas and test them. So Bill Kerr, he kind of led us on our creative journey and reined us in when we started to get a little bit too...

Jesse Inman:
Squirrely.

Aaron Inman:
Squirrely is probably the right way to put it. And then we would bring in the tattoo artists and they did a first rendition and then from there we said, "Okay, we don't want it to be just tattoo flash." So that's when we found a designer, Derrick Castle out of Nashville.

Jesse Inman:
Yeah, he did stuff for Miller Lite or Miller High Life. He did stuff for Harley Davidson. He just did a poster or a shirt for one of my favorite brands, Devil Makes Three. Awesome.

Aaron Inman:
Derrick did a heck of a job. He basically took our ideas and put them into a polished version that, once we saw it on the label, we were like, "Oh, that's wonderful."

Jesse Inman:
Wonderful. We said, "That's wonderful."

Aaron Inman:
Once we saw it on the label, we were like, "That's it." It was harmonious and then from there we added touches. Jesse was a big fan of paisley, so we did some hand-drawn paisley on there. We were really big into the vertical nature. The label really draws your eye down it. So you kind of have Lucky Rock here, the snake with the pickax here and then the vintage and things of that nature at the bottom. So it really kind of has this like synergistic nature. It really flows.

Jesse Inman:
Yeah, and you got to pick your color. You got to pick your symbolism, you got to pick your paper, you got to pick your emboss, basically how rigid and how much [crosstalk 00:05:14].

Aaron Inman:
(Beep). It was intimidating, too. That was very intimidating to have, when you go to the design firm, you've got to think, "Oh what emboss do you want? Which foil stamp?" And you're kind of like-

Jesse Inman:
That one.

Aaron Inman:
"I do this once every few years."

Aaron Inman:
For the tasting portion of today's episode, we decided to select the wines based just on the label. Each of us were going to go to the grocery store individually. He's going to pick one that he loved. I was going to pick one that I loved. He's going to pick one that he hated. I was going to pick one that I thought was [crosstalk 00:05:43].

Jesse Inman:
Love and hate, those are strong words.

Aaron Inman:
So for my love label, I selected this bad boy.

Jesse Inman:
You've talked about this a few times.

Aaron Inman:
I really love the label. I think it's because I'm into street art and it's done by a graffiti artist. It's a winery over in Calistoga called Tank Garage Winery.

Jesse Inman:
I think they only do each label one time. This is kind of like a cooler version of what Romililly, one of our first brands. Our first brand that we own, it's a more hipster version of that, a little bit more modern. Crisp and lean for sure.

Aaron Inman:
Still a tiny bit reductive to just, from barrel maybe.

Jesse Inman:
A lot oaky, a lot buttery.

Aaron Inman:
If you like chardonnay from Napa Valley, this is probably right up your alley.

Jesse Inman:
It's not exactly what you'd expect, when you pick that up I think, looking at the label, but S-F-V vineyards.

Aaron Inman:
S-T-D.

Jesse Inman:
S-F-V and I picked this one as one of my more of the like side, because it reminded me of kind of a 1970s kind of theme. I almost feel like there should be some shag carpet on the bottom.

Aaron Inman:
I don't think it's owned by the Jolly Rancher candy company-

Jesse Inman:
But they might have stock in it.

Aaron Inman:
But they might have stock in the wine.

Jesse Inman:
It's a nice wine. It's a fruity, it's good pool pounder, I think.

Aaron Inman:
Yeah. It's like, a lot of watermelon, strawberry. It's poundable. So for the label that I didn't like or thought was sleepy and I think for this it actually just goes more to sleepy than hated it, was Balletto because I think Balletto makes good wine. Full disclosure, I've had their wine before. It's good. But I just have always thought this label's very sleepy. A lot of raspberry, strawberry, cola, little bit of earth and spice. I mean kind of classic Russian River stuff.

Jesse Inman:
So this one is another, I picked three, I was only supposed to pick two.

Aaron Inman:
Middle child.

Jesse Inman:
I wouldn't say I love it, but there's something that keeps attracting me to it.

Aaron Inman:
Maybe it's the huge (beep) lion on it.

Jesse Inman:
It's the big lion. I think, we were into comic books and stuff when we were kids.

Aaron Inman:
I like lions.

Jesse Inman:
And this bottle is heavy.

Aaron Inman:
Mucho grande.

Jesse Inman:
[crosstalk 00:07:31].

Aaron Inman:
It's a little green, the oak's a little disjointed.

Jesse Inman:
That's what I always find in oak chips, which I'm almost sure this is. They just, there's something, you get the oak flavor without the browning flavors and browning.

Aaron Inman:
Maturation.

Jesse Inman:
So for our fifth and final wine, we have Writer's Block.

Aaron Inman:
We don't like to be overly negative. That's a thing that we have. But-

Jesse Inman:
I hate being negative.

Aaron Inman:
If you were getting the honest version of us, we hate the label. I'm sorry, Writer's Block. It's just-

Jesse Inman:
It's just got too many textures.

Aaron Inman:
There's no synergy to it.

Jesse Inman:
It's got too many fonts.

Aaron Inman:
[crosstalk 00:08:03].

Jesse Inman:
It looks like my 11 year old son did it in Photoshop with his butt.

Aaron Inman:
One of the nice things, cab. franc is a parent of cabernet sauvignon and one of the characteristics that I always consider with cabernet franc is its peppery-ness and it's current, kind of red current because we all eat those all the time.

Jesse Inman:
Red currant is fancy.

Aaron Inman:
You're going to exactly know what that tastes like.

Jesse Inman:
[inaudible 00:08:22] dude.

Aaron Inman:
But yeah, it's varietally correct, for sure.

Jesse Inman:
But let me read a little passage from the back here.

Jesse Inman:
Anyway, I'm done now. I'm only one eighth of the way through. The wine's good though. I showed this label to my grandma the other day and I was like, "Oh yeah, that's the one I didn't like as much." And she's like, "I really like it." And I'm like, "I'm going to keep my mouth shut." So to finish off, we're going to drink a little bit of Balletto because even though it was a little bit of a stinky label, the wine is really good, and that's all that really counts.

Aaron Inman:
At the end of the day, don't let the label stand in your way all the time. Thanks for joining us. See you.

Jesse Inman:
Bye y'all.

Aaron Inman:
On the next episode.