‘Ode to the Wine Bottle’ by Kristof Bossuyt

‘Ode to the Wine Bottle’ by Kristof Bossuyt.

Recently we received a copy of ‘Ode to the Wine Bottle’ which is a book that wine lovers will be curious about. We asked our Jelena van Eerdenburg to take a deep-dive into this book, and armed with a glass of wine she kicked back and got started.

First Impressions Matter

The first book in the world that is a tribute to the creativity of the wine label was written by Kristof Bossuyt, as he tells about himself: ‘I am a wine enthusiast, though not a wine expert’. Best projects are being born accompanied by a glass (or bottle) of wine, as was this project, the one I hold in my hands “Ode to the wine bottle”.

Humble design with a touch of elegance and sophistication, from font choice to book cover, it feels heavy in your hands with an impressive 140 pages of illustrious adventures and captivating stories.

The World of Wine Labels

The book offers 7 chapters, each featuring specific themes of labels. The myriad of labels invites you to deep dive into the world of diversity. Labels inspired by music, some mysterious with evocative elements or labels depicted by a touch of humor. Some artists breathe life into labels by depicturing historical figures, or catching the essence of location, the history of family or paying tribute to the ancestral way of winemaking or salute century old artisanal practices.  The humble connection to nature, to people so it makes each bottle to embody its own story, that makes the wine from a mere drink to an unforgettable experience.

As the old-fashioned soul and bibliophile, I hold the book in my hands and that is just one part of the excitement, the other part is straightforward presentation of information, that invites you to learn. One of such labels, which has not evoked much visual emotions in me, however sparked my intellectual interest when the author explained the story of the intricate design of the label. The artist has chosen representation of synesthesia, a phenomenon where one sensory experience triggers another – embracing the concept of multi-sensory adventure (page 92).

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino, one of the iconic wine labels.

The Influence of Wine Labels

I was pleased to discover the label of a wine I am acquainted with. Let me confess, I secretly admire this wine, the label sparked my curiosity, the story behind the label has intrigued my soul. (page 28).

However, I have missed some labels of grand marques producers, sparkling wine labels and bottles from old wine regions as France (in the book you only come across one French label). The majority is from Spain and after that Italy. I was wondering, could we guess about the tasting profile of the author based on it or is it just a coincidence?

The question that has prompted me when I finished reading the book: Does a wine label create an even more exciting wine experience?

The label of the wine elicits our sensory receptors. A common consumer, while choosing wine with no further knowledge, will react on the wine label first. It is like evaluating a piece of art, everyone will experience an array of emotions. Only in the museum we have more time to reflect than in the wine store.

As the initial focal point, the wine label holds a brief window to captivate the customer amidst a multitude of bottles on the shelf. The challenge lies in creating labels that either grab attention from a distance or exude authenticity through a raw and traditional aesthetic.

Each label unfolds a unique narrative, beckoning the consumer to introspect and engage in personal contemplation.

Ode to the Wine Bottle is written by Kristof Bossuyt. The book is written in English and can book directly through the accompanying website or e-tailers such as Bol.com. Pricing starts at €65,00.

This review is written by our own Jelena van Eerdenburg.