Carri’s family worked in the television and film industry. Both her parents were artists.
Carri's father, Tom O’Loughlin, worked for all the big studios (Disney, Warner, Hanna Barbera, etc.), where he painted backgrounds for many of the early animated cartoons (Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Looney Tunes, etc.).
Tom has over 200 IMDB credits for his work as an artist, which is an enormous body of work particularly given that his work was done without the benefit of computers. He was a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and received an Oscar nomination for his work on the original (animated) “Pink Panther”.
When we got married, Tom gave us a choice of any painting in his studio as our gift.
We chose a painting called “Primordial”.
When we began working on our label, we were fortunate to have world class designer Chuck House agree to assist us. We found Chuck after going through 1,000 or so bottles in our cellar and choosing 7 labels that we both felt had a quality about them that we liked. After the owner of one of the wineries gave us Chuck’s name, we contacted him. It turned out that Chuck had designed 6 of the labels we liked (the 7th was designed by his former business partner). Chuck is very well known and in great demand, so his agreeing to work with us was a great thing, and it always felt “right”.
The process took us almost 14 months, and really Chuck spent a lot of time trying to draw our design out of us rather than simply designing a label himself- the idea being to capture "us" in the label. We finally decided to use the painting in the label. Chuck shot about 100 small "details" (sections) of the painting from different angles, and we laid them out to each choose a favorite without the other being present.
Without hesitation, and independent of each other,
we both chose the same detail, which now graces our label.
From there, the label came together in a couple weeks- the big decisions being whether to frame it in black of gold leaf (gold leaf won), and the font (which is a proprietary text Chuck owned). The picture reminds us both of the album cover for “Layla” (Derek and the Dominoes), and most folks see a woman’s face, a glass of red wine (naturally), and some see the side profile of a very handsome man with a large nose. We have no idea who that man might be.
Tom passed away in 2007. We are honored to have Tom’s work on our label, and to respect his artistic legacy in this small way.
Because the Oscuro wines are based on little known (or obscure) Italian grape varieties, we wanted to come up with something which reflected those origins. The concept of utilizing old (obscure) Italian coins seemed like a logical way to reflect the wines’ Italian origins, as well as to convey the message of obscurity. We wanted to make sure this label was distinct from our Pinot label, and the path we followed was one of minimalism.
Each Oscuro wine features a different coin, commonly a “Deanarius”, which was one of the early silver coins minted in Rome. It was a departure from the bronze coins, and was believed to be made in an effort to facilitate trade with the Greeks who utilized silver coins.
The coin on the Schioppettino label dates from about 225-214 BC.
The coin on our upcoming Montepulciano label is from approximately 86 BC.
The front side of the Schioppettino coin is the laureate head of Janus- who was known in Roman mythology as the god of beginnings and transitions. Because of this, Janus is usually depicted as looking forward and back, which we thought fit the Schioppettino as it is truly looking back to the past (origins) as well as to the future (rebirth). On the back side, Jupiter is hurling a thunderbolt and holding a scepter, while the four-horse chariot (a “quadriga”) is driven by "Victory". In Roman mythology, Jupiter was a sky god, and oversaw matters of oaths and honor. He was viewed as controlling the weather, so early viticulture paid homage to him, and regular festivals in his honor were held each year.
On the front of the Montepulciano label is the head of Apollo; the back side has Jupiter, holding thunderbolt and reins and driving a quadriga. We found this appealing because Apollo was a god of many things, including music, art, poetry, light and sun. Wine is similar- sunlight makes grapes grow, and a great bottle of wine speaks to us much like music, art and poetry speak to us. And, the meld on this coin of Apollo’s perceived role as the God of sun, and Jupiter’s on weather, make them a fitting combination to adorn a wine label.
As we make and release more wines under this label (Sagrantino is coming in 2014!), we'll be looking for other coins that tell a story that reflects the special history of Italy.