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Snooth User: Rotedel

Wine labels and spiritual symbology in consumerism

Posted by Rotedel, May 9, 2010.

Hi all.  I am currently working on a paper for class which examines religion in wine marketing.  What I am hoping to do is show some empirical examples of religious label designs already or previously on market.  These designs can be completely overt or stretched as far as the imagination can take you (I wish to employ a psychological element to this too).  

For example, overt...


(I am aware though that this example is not one which actually hit the market, as fortunatley it never made it that far)

And for example, slightly more covert...





Do any of you have a design in mind yourself?  Have you come across any in-your-face religious symbology in wine labels?  Have you ever seen a label and wondered about the underlying spiritual undertones or influences behind the design?  They can be real silly or completely serious, i don't mind either way.

The most recent “stretches” I encountered were these...



Compared to this...



Compared against a Zen circle....

I would love to see what designs you know of.  Or if you want, I wouldn’t mind even just hearing about your impression of religion and consumerism in relation to wine.

Thanks so much in advance for your help all!


Reply by Carly Wray, May 9, 2010.

This is slightly less imagery related, but Michael David Vineyards is one of the vineyards who plays on the idea of the "Seven Deadly Sins" when naming their wines: Seven Deadly Zins

Bonny Doon also has a Cardinal Zin (with a Ralph Steadman-esque cleric on the label). I think you'll find plenty of devil-related labels -- though many of them are referring to the Tasmanian kind.

Here are some with nods to devil / angel iconography:

Velvet Devil

Lost Angel

D'esclans Whispering Angel

And a Zen nod:

Ravenswood Zen of Zin

Reply by Rotedel, May 9, 2010.

That's very helpful actually!  I can easily use these.  In fact, I was a little low on my devil/angel stock of images and examples too. 

Thanks so much for your help.

Reply by outthere, May 10, 2010.

I have this one in my cellar:

Two Angels Petite Sirah They look a little more like Cherubs but what the heck.

Reply by Rotedel, May 11, 2010.

Yeah, that's great!  It picks up on both the imagery and the written cues too.  And even cherubs relate to the bible, so it works even still for my purposes.  Well done!  Thanks outthere, it's going in my paper.


Reply by chadrich, May 11, 2010.

I can also mention a line of wines called "Lost Angel" (a seconf label from EOS, I think).  And of course the Austrlian cab from R Winery called "Evil".

Reply by rachana, Jul 1, 2011.

It picks up on both the imagery and the written cues too.  And even cherubs relate to the bible, so it works even still for my purposes.Thanks resort sunshine coast ..!!

Reply by dmcker, Jul 2, 2011.

WOW!! This is the lamest spam yet, rachana, and that's saying something....

Reply by dmcker, Jul 2, 2011.

Going back to the original subject of this thread, I alway thought the Torii Mor winery in Oregon had an interesting, even if somewhat oblivious, name.

Here's the explanation from the winery website for the naming:

"The name TORII MOR was chosen by Dr. Olson as he felt it conjured a feeling of unique elegance.  Borrowing from the Japanese, the “Torii” refers to the ornate gates most often seen at the entrances to Japanese gardens.  “Mor” is a word in ancient Scandinavian that means “earth”.  By integrating these two distinct languages, the romantic image of a gate to an earth space, or passageway to beautiful things, is formed.  We believe that Pinot noir, more than any other varietal, is that beautiful gateway to the earth."


Actually, Torii are religious gateways to Shinto shrines, not gateways to lay gardens. When entering shrines to the spirits of the earth/nature (a fairly shamanistic religion with trees, rocks, waterfalls, even foxes, etc. being focii for religious attention), you need to enter and leave the shrine through them. You purify and focus yourself towards the sacred by doing so.


From Wikipedia:

A torii (鳥居・鳥栖・鶏栖?, lit. bird perch, English: /ˈtɔəri.iː/) is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred (see Sacred-profane dichotomy).[1] The presence of a torii at the entrance is usually the simplest way to identify Shinto shrines, and a small torii icon represents them on Japanese road maps.[note 1] They are however a common sight at Japanese Buddhist temples too, where they stand at the entrance of the temple's own shrine, called chinjusha (鎮守社?, tutelary god shrine) and usually very small.


Below are some famous torii from a couple of different shrines (btw, not all torii are red like this).

Itsukushima, near Hiroshima, with the sea-access torii to the island with its famous shrine...

And the cascade of torii leading to the Fushimi Inari shrine south of Kyoto...

Reply by dmcker, Jul 2, 2011.

OK, where'd the images go? They showed in the edit boxes before hitting 'approve'...

Reply by dmcker, Jul 2, 2011.







Reply by dmcker, Jul 2, 2011.

2nd time fail...

Reply by Jason Benjamin M, Jul 2, 2011.

Just make sure you use the word "symbolism" in your paper, because as a familiar cult film once told us... "symbology" is NOT a word... :)


Reply by dmcker, Jul 5, 2011.

OK, another try, since the image-posting functionality has supposedly been restored.


Miyajima/Itsukushima Shrine (near Hiroshima)


FushimiInari Shrine near Kyoto



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