Two Bees Wine

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Today the label designs are ready. I solicited help from my office’s Graphics guru Dave, who cleaned up the image and worked magic to place our scanned drawing into an actual printer-ready label template. We’re waiting for the hard copy samples of the label paper to arrive from Canada. Semi-gloss or no semi-gloss, that is the question, impossible to determine from hazy internet images.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I spent my evening at Kinko’s, cutting, pasting, sizing, reducing. I created a pile of scraps for the recycle bin, crumpling them to ward off spies. My goal was to render some sketches on scratch paper into the blank center of the front label template Anthony and I had already agreed. He hadn’t yet seen my drawing idea, and I somewhat worried it might be too whimsical for his sensibilities. I made extra copies of the final, put-together image so that I could experiment with color at home, stopping at Raley’s on the way back to buy a cheap package of vivid Crayola pencils.

The back label, meanwhile, was mostly ready, with some intended tweaks to font TBD.

Monday, September 03, 2007

We decided not to be so harsh in criticizing our wine. Jon had brought over a friend’s homemade tempranillo yesterday. He relayed that his friend gifted him with a full case, beaming at his accomplishment. We opened the sample Jon brought over and found its taste quite awful. Unsippable. The color bled cherry-red, like cough syrup. We poured out the remainder.

Lesson to us: be proud of our wine. It was far better than this example, which its winemaker introduced with fanfare no less, like a proud papa. So too, we pledged, would we pitch our wine – not down the sink, but to our family and friends. We’ll come up with a description, a flavor profile. We’ll discuss its style, how much we learned, refinements we’ll try next year, our expectations that 2007’s vintage will be even better.

And we will go forth with a real label, something to badge it with honor. The pressure toward this effort had been building for months. It faded when we thought the wine had. But now, brimming with renewed motivation and excitement, I couldn’t wait to sit down and draw some concepts.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


We set aside Sunday of Labor Day weekend to bottle, the day after our trek to Palo Alto to watch the mighty Bruins defeat Stanford. Jon, our winemaker neighbor, promised to help oversee the low-tech operation.

Our bottling line didn’t include a plain-wrap truck disguising an assembly line and automated conveyer belts. Instead, we borrowed a stainless steel contraption about the size of a cumbersome toaster oven that fills three bottles at a time. A suction tube feeds wine directly from barrel to the steel reservoir, the volume of which is regulated by a toilet bowl-type float. Anthony leans the necks of the bottle trio into three prongs. He presses these to draw the wine, which automatically stops at just the right level without overflowing.

I man the corking station, jamming down a long lever that resembles a bladeless paper cutter. This drives a synthetic cork into a secured bottle.

The afternoon hit the mid-90 degree mark, but we went at it diligently, sweating and sunburning, until one by one, we’d completed our caseload: 147 bottles, just over 12 cases of wine!
We stacked the boxes in the living room temporarily, posing for photos.

On the to-do list: adding the maroon foils and, most importantly, creating some kind of label.