Monday, January 17, 2011

Artists wanted

By Michelle Manetti

The search is on for the Next Great Wine Bottle Artist.

But this is not some Bravo reality show — it’s an actual contest by the Williamsburg-based winery, Brooklyn Oenology, which has made a name for itself with its great wine and its great labels.

“Since we’re based in Brooklyn. I wanted the winery to be more than just wine,” said owner Ali Shaper (pictured). “And one of the great things about Brooklyn is being around all these artistic endeavors.”

The challenge? A 2010 Sauvignon Blanc. It’s dry. It’s crisp. It’s got a hint of citrus. It’s crying out for something classy, Shaper said.

Any artist endeavor will be considered for the label — except the winner must be based in Brooklyn and the label can’t feature nudity (well, there goes our entry).

“But it doesn’t have to be related to Brooklyn, just original,” Shaper said.

The deadline is Jan. 31, after which the Brooklyn Oenology staff will choose five or six finalists. Customers at Shaper’s new Tasting Room on Wythe Avenue will pick the winner from those finalists.

In hosting a contest, Shaper’s approach to branding is vastly different from her neighbors. Brooklyn Brewery, after all, hired internationally known graphic designer Milton Glaser to do its “B” logo (and Glaser is working with a former Brewery co-founder on labels for a new line of spirits).

Glaser, of course, was richly compensated, but Shaper may be offering something far better than cash: The winning label — which peels off so that it can live on long after the last glass has been downed — will be on a top notch wine distributed all over the country (and you know how those French chateaux are always hiring away our best wine bottle artists, so there could be a big payday down the road).

Plus, Shaper will hang the winning artist’s other work in a solo art show at the Tasting Room.

Brooklyn Oenology Tasting Room [209 Wythe Ave. between N. Third and N. Fourth streets in Williamsburg, (718) 599-1259]. Submissions must include a bio, and a web link, and be sent to by Jan. 31. For info, visit


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