POSTED ON November 12, 2010 | IN Wine Books, Wine News | BY Joe Becerra

It is the time of the year when you begin to think about developing your gift list for family and friends. Here is idea for someone who enjoys wine and is perhaps not easy to please. It is a wine book: “The Art and Design of Contemporary Wine Labels.” I know it sounds a bit boring but once you open the book to any page describing a label, it is very fun and interesting. I received a complimentary copy of this book. It is a beautiful looking book but one I certainly did not think I would find that enjoyable. But it was quite the opposite, and I use the word “fun” to describe the book because that is just the kind of experience when one discovers the history and the making of a particular wine label.

Let me give you a couple of examples of how this book entertains. In 2009 we took a trip to Mendoza, Argentina, and visited a bodega that produced two labels, one of which is called Zolo and the other Tapiz. I happen to like the line of Zolo wines and buy them here, mostly at my local BevMo store. What the heck does Zolo mean and what’s behind the cartoon character on the label of a man with his hat blowing off his head? It was really fun reading how this label came about. Argentine doctor Patricia Ortiz purchased a winery in Mendoza and while tending to her new adventure had to spend much time away from her husband and their home in Buenos Aires. In honor of her husband she came up with the word Zolo for the label. It is a play on the Spanish word for being left alone; solo, with the Z being the reverse of the letter S. The label shows a man in a suit with his hat being blown off the top of his head. That figure typifies her husband whose hat is blown away by the excitement of the great wines his wife is producing.

Here is another one closer to home, the Frog’s Leap Label. This winery is owned by John Williams. When he purchased the property he found several records that revealed that frogs were once raised on the property to be sold to food markets for Frog Legs. Before his vines were ready on his new property, he purchased grapes from the Stag’s Leap winery to make his wine. The “Frog’s Leap” on the label means “the grapes made a literal and figurative leap from one winery to another.”

There are 286 contemporary labels in the book detailed just like the two examples above. It is a book for the coffee table and one to pick up now and then and peruse. It is always fun to read this fascinating and enjoyable book on wine labels while sipping a glass of your favorite wine. It is just very well could be the perfect holiday gift for that hard to please wine aficionado.

For our more wine books that make great holiday gifts, see our list of recommended “Top Ten Wine Books