Les Vins Georges Duboeuf revealed the original work of art to be featured on the 2017 vintage of its Beaujolais Nouveau, marking the 35th year of the wine’s appearance in the US and the start of the “Artist Collector Series” of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau labels.
Ari Azzopardi’s “Candy Coated” was named the winner after voting took place on Facebook and Instagram in a competition of original art from artists around the world. The artwork, incorporated into the wine’s label, will appear in the U.S. on as many as one million bottles of the “first wine of the harvest” which debuts, per French law and tradition, at 12:01 a.m. on the third Thursday in November (November 16, 2017). In a number of markets around the country on that day, parties to welcome the wine’s arrival will be held in galleries and art spaces, and will feature a limited number of specially created posters of the artwork for “art- and Beaujolais Nouveau-lovers” attending.
Azzopardi is a mixed-media artist who currently resides in St. Petersburg, Fla., with a BFA in painting and sculpture. Her creative process is driven by spontaneity, and focuses on form, color and energy.
Georges Duboeuf has a great appreciation for the arts and the passion that drives creative people. “We are dedicating this vintage to the creators, dreamers, builders—anyone who is passionate about what they do,” he said. “This artist competition and Ms. Azzopardi’s work perfectly capture this sentiment.”
For the first time, artists from a number of backgrounds from around the globe submitted their label designs for a chance to win up to $5,000 in grants. Jon Lutz, a Brooklyn-based art curator who has worked with emerging artists for the past 12 years, chose the 13 finalists from over 200 submissions. Fans were then able to pick their favorite label by liking, sharing and commenting on Facebook and Instagram.
Last year’s label (the 2016 vintage) was also chosen by voting on social media, but entries came from professional graphic designers. The 2017 competition was open to artists of all mediums and backgrounds. Les Vins Georges Duboeuf has a history of commissioning artist-designed labels for its Beaujolais Nouveau, as far back as the 1980s.
The tradition of Nouveau began with the wine growers themselves who would celebrate the end of the harvest with this young wine. Bottled six to eight weeks after the grapes are harvested; Beaujolais Nouveau is fresh, fruity and vibrant. The vin de l’année was initially only for local consumption. For the growers, and now for the world, Beaujolais Nouveau is often considered to be an indicator of the quality of the vintage and it is recommended served with a light chill.
The wine’s release the week before Thanksgiving has encouraged its place as part of the holiday season. “The Beaujolais Nouveau has become an integral part of many holiday festivities with friends and family, and we’re excited that the label competition highlights the spirit of that tradition, resulting in a label that will inspire Americans to continue the celebration,” explains Dennis Kreps, co-owner with his father, Stephen D. Kreps, of Quintessential, the family-owned-and-operated import, marketing and sales company that represents Les Vins Georges Duboeuf in the U.S.
Azzopardi will receive a $3,500 grant for the winning label, while the remaining finalists will each have their labels presented as an option for private label bottlings that are released every year. If chosen, the artist will receive a $1,500 grant.