Label Evolution

In the spirit of innovation and continual improvement, we took the opportunity of the exceptional 2012 vintage to make some subtle but meaningful changes to our labels. We brought the 19th century bank note sensibilities forward into the 21st century in order to enhance the look and feel of the labels, at the same time adding additional layers to our security features. Utilizing improved intaglio (steel engraved) printing technology, we have recaptured intricate details that had begun to erode, and improved the tactility of the surfaces.

On the BOND labels we updated the motto surrounding the allegorical portrait, which further elaborates our covenant with our vineyard estates, replacing the word “Duty” with “Trust”.

Still utilizing centuries-old postal ink formulations to give each cru its distinctive color, we augmented the guilloche near the bottom of the label. This colorful disc, made up of classic geometric lathe work, contains an algorithmic interference pattern that creates a “latent image”. If you hold the bottle at an oblique angle and look across the surface of the label, it will reveal the letter “B,” invisible to the eye when viewed straight on.

"Engraving is a dying art, but its decline is not due solely to the technical processes that are superceding it, nor to photography, nor to lithography—the latter, an easier and more economical technique, but one which cannot replace it satisfactorily....

Engraving is an actual translation, that is to say, it is the art of transposing an idea from one art to another, as the translator of a book written in a foreign language transposes it into his own. The engraver’s foreign language, and this is where he shows his skill, does not consist merely in imitating the effects of painting through the medium of his own art which is, as it were, a different language. He has, if I may so describe it, his own personal language that marks his work with its characteristic stamp, and even in a faithful translation allows his personal feeling to appear."

— From the Journal of Eugene Delacroix, 25 January 1857

In developing the labels for the wines, we pondered at length how to best communicate graphically all that we wanted the domain to stand for: superlative attention to detail, consummate quality, and timeless authenticity. We hoped to reflect the culture of our family enterprise, the character of our sites, and the relationship between our product and our customer in a single image—all within the scanty marquee offered by a wine bottle.
Our natural gravitational pull was toward vintage stamps and bank notes, both of which represented assigned worth and were artistic in nature. We were attracted to the idea that bank note engraving and intaglio printing had developed specifically to uphold the very highest standards, to guarantee confidence and trust, and to protect against the threat of counterfeiters.

After considerable study and research, we garnered an introduction to the American Bank Note Company, a firm that traces its roots to the earliest days of our nation and that printed American currency and postage stamps up to the time of the Civil War. We were ultimately granted the rare privilege of searching their extensive archives.

The name BOND is a surname on Mr. Harlan’s mother’s side of the family. Additionally, it also came to represent the common bond, or covenant, to produce the best expression of the land. Lastly, given our investment in bank note imagery and security-mindedness, we couldn’t resist fashioning the wine label after that most classic of financial debenture instruments – a 19th century bond certificate. We deftly assembled a number of diverse elements – an allegorical portrait, elaborate borders and scrollwork, type fonts, etc. – to create a new translation that upholds M. Delacroix’s apt description above.