Got Grapes? Birichino’s Vino

December 2015


As a product designer, I rarely consider the back of a wine label to be as important as the front. The front is visible, it’s facing out on the shelf, it’s colorful, it’s what you see, and it’s intended to inspire you to buy the wine. However working with Alex Krause of Birichino Wines has challenged this fundamental rule.

I got to know Alex many years ago when we lived in Santa Cruz, California. At that time, he worked at the tasting room of the legendary Bonny Doon Winery, and many weekend evenings, he would bring home unfinished bottles of wine for friends to enjoy. Alex speaks fluent German and French, and is a generally happy guy. And when he talked about wine there was no attitude or unnecessary terminology—the way he described wine, it all made sense. Even if he threw in a french superlative or two, there was no snobbery—just a pure passion for vino. And it makes sense that, several years later, he co-founded a small and sublime winery—Birichino.

I worked with Alex and his business partner John Locke, to design the labels for the 2012 vintages—a Muscatel, Pinot Noir and a Grenache made from 126-year-old vines. The back of each bottle features Alex’s quirky, eloquent prose that describes each wine. And reading this paragraph makes you want a second glass. For Alex, the back of a wine label is just as engaging—and important—as the front. Others have taken notice as well– recently, his wines have been getting praise from the likes of the New York Times. Learn more about Birichino here.

(Photos courtesy of Alex Krause)