Some of you may wonder what is so exciting about a label being approved or even why a label would have to be approved at all? It’s just a wine bottle label right?

Well, think again. Our good old uncle Sam, or The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, aka TTB,  wants to make sure we say the ‘right’ things on our wine label:  for example, that we state the correct appellation, or where most of the grapes in the bottle came from; that if we say the bottle contains Pinot Noir, then most of the wine in the bottle is Pinot Noir; that if we say it is a 2008 vintage, it is mostly 2008.  And that is just the beginning.

As many bloggers have documented before me, this is a real fun process, not!

We have to state the correct alcohol level. Now, as far as I can tell, this is very important to the ‘Man’ from a taxation perspective. Wines above 14% alcohol are taxed at a much higher rate than ones below.   A lot of the rules have their roots in Prohibition.

We need to have the usual disclaimer on the back about birth defects and your ability to drive a car or operate machinery.

Then there are layout rules for some labels.  Here is a doozy straight from the TTB web site:

“When using a varietal/two or more grape varietals as the type designation, the varietals [and their percentages] must be in at least 2 mm print and appear separate and apart or more conspicuous than surrounding text.  If the mandatory information appears surrounded by other text, it must be in bold print or at least twice the size of the surrounding text.” All good stuff in the name of consumer protection.

And then there are things we can’t say.  You can’t make mention of any kind of the potential health benefits of drinking a glass or two of red wine.  Nope!  Not allowed.  Never mind that for millenniums civilized people around the world have been raising a glass and toasting Salut! or Sante! or Le-Chaim! to your health.

We may have to wait another hundred years to be able to make those claims. In the mean time, we are just glad we got our labels approved.


After countless revisions we finally have a label designed!


Our name, Stomping Girl, was inspired by my grandmother Esther.  She started the family tradition of winemaking many years ago and used to get my little sister Michal into the bin to stomp the grapes. Now we have 3 more “stomping girls” working on the wine.   A talented designer, Paul Jobson, came up with a logo to represent our name.  He presented us with this:

stomping girl logo winner

stomping girl logo winner

a playful depiction of a girl stomping grapes while daydreaming of other activities and we loved it.

Our label designer, Hayley, then worked with us to come up with many label design concepts, incorporating the logo in different ways.  Ever so patient with us, Hayley produced countless iterations.  We tried the girl at the top of the label, on the side of the label, jumping out of the label, in the middle of the label, on the bottom right of the label.  We made the girl black, burgundy and purple.  We had to fit the varietal name, year, appellation and vineyard on a small 4″x 2″ space.  We tried many different fonts; we tried all caps, small caps, no caps, you name it!  And let’s not forget all government mandated warnings that need to fit on there too.  

We tried different types of paper, different sizes of paper; different types of bottles and different color capsules.  We got feedback from graphic designers, friends and relatives. It was more time consuming than one would imagine.  

Ultimately, however, one hopes that what is IN the bottle matters much more than what is ON the bottle.   I agree with one label designer who was quoted as saying it is their job to help sell a customer that first bottle of wine but it is the winemaker’s job to keep that customer coming back for more.  Our 2008 is tasting wonderful right now, and, it’s nice to see a label matching the quality and craftsmanship of what is in the bottle!