What’s in a Name?
Blog Post By Linzi Gay
Naming wine is not an easy task. With thousands of wine labels around the world, many names are already spoken for. But while it can be challenging to find a name that speaks to your brand and the wine in the bottle, it can also be a very personal and exciting process.
Not every bottle of wine needs a special name beyond the brand and varietal designation. We have many wines that we just call Clif Family + varietal name. Our Clif Family Chardonnay, Clif Family Petite Sirah and others to name a few. But some wines inspire us to go a step further and add what we could call a “proprietary name” to the label. And often, that is because there is a deeper story or connection to the inspiration for making that wine. Gary’s Improv Zinfandel and Kit’s Killer Cab Cabernet Sauvignon are two such wines.
These wines were the start of Clif Family. First bottled from the 2003 vintage, Gary and Kit were excited about the blank canvas in front of them for creating the Clif Family wine brand. Working with the design team at Clif Bar for the original labels, they wanted the wines to reflect a bit of their personality and passions.
As an improvisational jazz trumpet player (you’ll often find Gary onstage at our annual concerts), the name Gary’s Improv struck a chord. Wine and jazz are similar in many respects, the freeform style allowing the musician and winemaker the creative expression to create a masterpiece.
The story behind Kit’s Killer Cab goes like this. Sometime during the aging of the 2003 vintage of the wine, Kit was tasting a barrel sample and said to the winemaker “this wine is killer”. They started referring to it as Kit’s Killer Cab and when the label was designed, the name came along with it.
Wine is so much more than what is in the bottle. It is a cumulation of the stories that go into making the wine, the unique characteristics of a vintage and the collective voice of all those that had a hand in getting the wine to your glass.
Cheers to the story in every bottle!