“Making good wine is a skill. Fine wine is an art,” so said the famous winemaker Robert Mondavi. Underneath the soaring cathedral-like cast iron arches of Olympia earlier this month, the world of wine had come to London with the annual London Wine Fair, with wine makers, buyers, restauranters, retailers all seeking to find the future new wine that was not just good, but was great. A sign of climate change perhaps, but there was even wine from Wales. Where next – Scotland?
Art was here too, with the project Wine Art inspired by Abigail Barlow of Barlow & Co. There has long been a link between art and wine, going back to the classical statues of Bacchus and the Roman murals, for example in the Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii, but also in the design of the labels themselves, perhaps most famously Mouton Rothschild whose bottles have been graced with art by some of the most famous artists of the time including Miró, Chagall, Braque, Picasso, Tàpies, Francis Bacon, Dali, Balthus, Jeff Koons and even Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, which visitors near London can see if they go out and visit the cellars at Waddesdon Manor.
Wine Art celebrates the link between art and the grape, with its illustrations capturing the character and history of the different grape types, with Carmenere Risen from the Dead, Viognier on the Road to Hell, Resiling the King of the German Vineyard, Chardonnay the grape of many different tastes including Big Daddy from Oz and the DNA profiling to prove the marriage of Muller-Thurgau, plus many others, all available for sale as high quality prints.
The amount of detail in these fascinating illustrations is like reading a good book in which the grape is the main character, but then “Age appears best in four things: old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust and old authors to read.” (Francis Bacon)