There are three things that Alie Shaper is very passionate about: wine, art and Brooklyn. So it didn’t come as a surprise when the winemaker and owner of Williamsburg-based Brooklyn Oenology announced that she was looking for a piece of Kings County artwork to use as the label of her first sauvignon blanc.
The twist was that the winery’s customers had the opportunity to decide which piece was chosen.
From mid-February to the end of March, several hundred customers cast their votes in the winery’s new Williamsburg tasting room for one of five artistic possibilities.
Margeaux Walter’s photo collage “Sunday Afternoon” was declared the winner last month at a tasting room celebration. Walter, 31, of Greenpoint, says she was excited about the win because it provides her with a unique way to show her work and make it accessible to the everyday consumer.
“It’s sort of a modern interpretation of people hanging out in the park,” Walter says of the piece. “I used a timer, and I shot myself dressed up in all the different costumes. Then I collaged it together in Photoshop.”
Almost 2,200 bottles of the winery’s sauvignon blanc will be labeled with a sticker bearing her print, which can be peeled off for commemorative keeping. Brooklyn Oenology currently has nine wines on the market, each emblazoned with artwork by Brooklyn artists. The labels change each time a new vintage is released, Shaper says.
“It really captures the spirit of the wine,” Shaper says of Walter’s upbeat collage. “[It’s] a cool depiction of culture in our city.”
She also chose an oil painting by artist Deborah Brown as the label art for the winery’s 2008 Viognier. The selection was announced at a reception last week.
Shaper started Brooklyn Oenology in 2006 and released her first vintage a year later. She sources grapes from various New York State vineyards and then makes the wine out on Long Island, although her operations are based in Brooklyn.
“It’s certainly not a new concept to put art and wine together. But I wanted to do Brooklyn art,” Shaper says. “Art, in general, is what Brooklyn is all about.”