With my 10th vintage of Tessier, I wanted to re-examine the wine label and give it a fresh, new look. For the original label, I chose a snapshot of yeast cells under a microscope, adding a figure line off to the side to indicate the vintage number. The back of the bottle displays a Louis Pasteur quote that still resonates with me; “Science is art”. I still love that label, but now, ten years later, it doesn’t accurately reflect me or my wine.
Starting out, in 2009, I was still shedding my old life as a scientist. Full of self-doubt, and nervous about messing up my wine, I tried to control every element of winemaking. If it’s one thing I’ve learned with working with Mother Nature; you can’t control everything. You must be flexible and open to change. With each vintage, I gained confidence by seeing how the grapes behaved during fermentation and in barrel. I increased my knowledge by making wine with, and for, other people. I discovered new grapes, obtained new perspectives by travelling to wine regions, befriended other winemakers, and tasted as many wines as I could to keep my palate evolving.
Ten years later, I feel like I’ve hit my stride, found my inner-self and unique winemaking style. I have a voice, and I’m proud of what I say through my Tessier wines. I continue to be influenced and impressed by French natural winemakers and the quest for true expression of Terroir, it’s my goal to make wines that speak of the place where they are grown by the most natural and gentle winemaking I can offer.
The concept of “Science as Art” is still a guiding factor, but as I have loosened the grip on over-arching control, I interpret that quote in a more creative way. As a practicing microbiologist and research scientist, I saw many cool images that I thought would be great as stand-alone art prints, and I wanted to incorporate that into my label art. I scouted for microscopic science images and emailed some scientists but came up empty-handed until I stumbled upon Science Photo Library (SPL), the world’s leading source of science and medicine images. One particular image spoke to me immediately; a super-cool, globular, alien-like design which turned out to be a scanning electron microscope image of Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) leaf secreting oil.
WHY CLARY SAGE?
Clary sage is a flowering herb that’s native to the Mediterranean Basin and is used in stress reduction (aromatherapy), is a natural antidepressant, has antimicrobial properties, and can be used for the alleviation of menopausal symptoms and reducing menstrual cramps. Sage was held sacred by the Romans as a healing plant. It was an old belief that sage grew most vigorously in gardens where the household was ruled by a woman. Business was believed to flourish where sage thrived. In the Middle Ages sage was believed to auger prosperity. As a proud female winemaker, this image embodies a history of feminine strength, aromatics, overcoming obstacles, endurance, and the aspiration of stress-free life.
The new design is a one-piece wrap label. It displays additional information; harvest date, brix (measure of sugar) at harvest, and pH (measure of acidity) of the final wine. Although not legally required, transparency with my customers is important to me, and I know that I like to have that information when I drink wine. The certified vegan logo reassures that I don’t fine the wine, which can use proteins (eggs, milk or gelatin) to bind suspended particles in the wine.
Did you know:
Since 2015, Tessier wines are natively fermented.
Since 2016 no fining and minimal filtering are done in the wines.
As of 2019 all of the vineyards I work with are sustainable and are either organic or tending towards organic with no roundup in the vineyards.
Many of you have been with me from the beginning of this amazing journey. I am so grateful for your support. It has truly enabled me to blossom. For those of you who are new friends, welcome to Team Tessier! I hope to see you all at my extravaganza Release Party on October 27th.