Humans, as a species, are visually driven. When we see a photograph or watch a movie that is visually pleasing, we are drawn in and take notice. By being guided by these ocular clues around the world, many decisions are made on the basis of sight alone. Take, for example, choosing a wine out of shelf of similar wines. Now to the wine experts out there, a label may not be as important as the contents held within, but to the average consumer, a label is everything. It tells us the emotions the wine is trying bring out, it tells us a bit about the character of the winemakers, and sometimes, the label is just awesome looking.
So what can we learn from the simple, black-and-white sketches on the bottles of Gaston, Oregon’s Big Table Farm wine? According to Big Table Farm co-founder and label designer Clare Carver, the labels are a reflection of the farm itself.
“My desire is to let the purity of our intentions shine through,” Carver says. “We want people to resonate with the authenticity that we put into our wines.”
And Big Table Farm is a producer of a very authentic Oregon wine. After spending time in Napa Valley, where Carver’s husband and co-founder Brian Marcy studied fermentation on some of the best vineyards in the country, they decided to purchase property in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
The calm and peaceful surroundings of the farm have given Carver a wonderful backdrop to replicate in her fine art. Most, if not all, of the labels seen on the farm’s wine are animals, farm tools or landmarks that can be found on the farm itself. Capturing these little moments and putting them on a bottle is how Carver shows the farm life to the world.
This same belief is held in Marcy’s production of the farm’s wine. Carver says he always tells her that he just picks the grapes and then tries to get out of the way. His process is very unobtrusive and has had spectacular results. In their entire history, they have never received a score lower than 90 points from critics on a wine.
In pretty much all aspects of Big Table Farm exists the firm idea of being pure and authentic. Carver is the creative mastermind behind how she wants the brand to be perceived and her direction can be seen throughout it. The website showcases photographs that show the day-to-day life of the couple on the farm, so much so that when guests come, they sometimes feel like they have already been there.
“We have had people here say, ‘wow, this looks just like all your pictures do,’” Carver says. “Which is great because that’s how I want to present ourselves online. Nothing fake.”
She also runs the farm blog, which includes everything that happens on the farm. While there is wine featured on the blog quite a bit, Carver says it is about the genuine happenings on the property. New animals, new crops, a new project—whatever it may be, it will end up on the blog. This is partly due to the fact that both Carver and Marcy are relatively new to the farming lifestyle.
“We both grew up around farms, but neither of us spent much time on an actual working farm,” Carver says. “So we have had to learn how to do this by making lots of mistakes.”
And those mistakes have paid off. With the help of almost 100 local supporters in the area, the two were able to rebuild the property’s original barn and construct a winery alongside. Before they had to rent space for a winery that was nearly an hour away. Now, with nearly 3,500 cases of wine produced yearly, Carver says she is happy with where they are.
“My goal for 2015 was simply to buff and polish,” Carver says. “I have everything I could possibly want in life, so now I can just focus on refining it.”
Come see the refinement for yourself—Big Table Farm is open by appointment only, which Carver and Marcy are happy to take.