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Have you ever wondered how a wine label gets made? Here at Markham Vineyards we have always taken a very deliberate path. Bruce Markham started in advertising before he moved to Napa Valley. It was the Highway Beautification Act, passed by Lyndon B. Johnson, where the government bought all of Bruce’s outdoor advertising billboards to promote scenic enhancement. His background made it easy for him to create the very first Markham label. It was very spare, but he was one of the original believers saying it took great grapes grown in the best locations to make fine wine. His label design simply stated MARKHAM. with a period on the end for emphasis. As a military man himself, he used a depiction of his favorite bronze sculpture of a cannoneer as the only decoration.

 MV ML80 Cannoneer

Of course, as the wine industry matured, so too did our label. I joke about what I call the “wide tie’ label with its gargantuan size, which not surprisingly was followed by the “skinny tie” label debuting about the time I first arrived at Markham. My several years here have now allowed me to see how the entire process evolves. It starts with hiring a designer, internally narrowing down favorites, using focus groups to understand not only the likes or dislikes, but better understand how our image is viewed in a greater sense. Our Markham label has always been viewed as a traditional, masculine label, even now in our fifth generation. One of my favorite parts of the process is seeing how the new design looks on a store shelf. Your personal preferences and actual design esthetic often present differently than you may imagine and looking at that is incredibly revealing.

You might notice a subtle difference on our new label that I recently press checked. As always, we want you to be able to find a bottle of Markham on the shelves. Both our current labels, as well as our new labels, were designed by David Schuemann and his team at CF Napa. Keeping our label fresh goes together with the consistency of using G3 as our printer for the past 10 years. A press check allows the label designer to see the label as it will actually be printed and make final adjustments to the color, emboss or foil highlights in their design. I was on-hand for the most seamless press check I have ever attended, thanks in part to keeping my first-string team together.

MKM Label Press Check step by step printing

During the redesign, we took the liberty of highlighting our ‘Heritage Selection’ wines, which are those wines only available here in our tasting room in limited quantity. I simultaneously press checked these labels and their new capsule (created by G3) which will hopefully set them apart. These Heritage Selection wines allow my team the opportunity to show our crazy side. Additionally, the new back labels will tout that Markham is both a Napa Green Winery and Napa Green Land certified. Be assured on your next visit, one of our charming tasting room associates will tell you about how hard we strive to respect the land and fruit grown there while working diligently to make both better. All of our newly designed labels will debut on each wine bottled this year. We’re all excited to get bottling in 2017!

MKM Label Press Check old vs new