Winemakers bank on pop art to boost sales

Alex Dunham
Alex Dunham - [email protected]
Winemakers bank on pop art to boost sales

Dirty Harry, Travis Bickle, Charles Chaplin and many more Hollywood legends are being hand-painted on vintage wine barrels in a bodega in northern Spain in a bid to draw in a younger clientele.


The pop art wine project is headed by two Spanish graphic designers who were looking for new ways to promote Rioja wines of "denominación de origen calificada", the largest number of barrels in the world with close to 1.3 million.

Raul San Cristobal and Enrique Martin approached the Bodegas Contador winery in Spain's La Rioja region with a novel idea that could give their wines the mass appeal they have been lacking in recent years.

The pair now travel daily to the municipality of Samaniego in La Rioja, Spain’s wine country, where they hand-paint the barrels.

"Painting on a curved surface rather than on a flat one brings its own difficulties, but also gives added value to the product, in this case a barrel, whose attractive shape lends itself to this technique," San Cristobal told Spanish news agency EFE.

Under the company name of Laovejabala, the two designers are selling their customized casks for €1,000 and €1,200 ($1,520 and $1660).

San Cristobal and Martín are not the only ones aware of the need to remarket Spain's abundant wine to generate more mass appeal.

"The secret is to make very accessible wines," Daniel Poveda Martí, wine waiter for renowned Spanish chef Sergi Arola, told Spain’s La Sexta TV channel.

"That means producing very fruity wines with not much tannin and easy to drink overall."

Spain is Europe's third biggest wine producer with approximately 600,000 wine businesses.

According to the International Organization of Wine and Vine (OIV), 13 percent of the world’s wine in 2011 was in Spain. 

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