Winemakers put all of their passion into their wines and often put a bit of their personality on their labels. You’ve probably seen a few wine names that have made you pause and wonder… how did they come up with that name?? Here are some of the stories behind wine names you might see around Woodinville tasting rooms.
At Three of Cups Winery, winemaker Lisa Swei names her wines after Tarot cards. And just to keep things interesting, Lisa uses the French version of the card names. For example, “Le Chariot” is a card that symbolizes strength, a fitting name for a strong red blend wine. Lisa also adds some mirth with the wine named “Le Bateleur.” The card symbolizes the Joker or the fool, appropriate because Lisa says the wine has changed over time so it fools her each time it’s opened.
Not surprisingly, family heritage is a common theme for the names of many wines. Airfield Estate Winery pays homage to its deep and distinct roots in the Northwest with their colorful wine names. “Flygirl White,” “Hellcat,” “Mustang,” “Spitfire,” and “Bombshell” all honor the estate vineyard property that was used for a flight school during World War Two.
Smasne Cellars also acknowledges its Washington State history dating back more than a century with its wine names. Owner and winemaker Robert Smasne is the fourth generation in a family of Yakima Valley farmers. The “Farm Boy” label has a drawing of Robert as a child while the “Farm Girl” label is a sketch of his daughter. And in a tongue-and-cheek salute to his own father, Robert named one of his wines “½ Assed” to honor his father’s sage advice: “Never do anything half-assed!”
Love of family can also be reflected in a more simplistic style such as Two Vintners’ wine names. “Sal” is named after winemaker Morgan Lee’s wife, Sally; “Oliver” is named for their son; “Claire” for their daughter; and “Lola” is named after the family’s black labrador (who you usually can meet when you visit their tasting room).
So the next time an unusual, interesting or out-of-the-blue wine name catches your eye, be sure to ask about it while you’re tasting. You will almost certainly hear an interesting anecdote behind the name that just might get you thinking, “What would I name a bottle of wine?”