Label Deconstruction: Ridge

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I was doing some research on Ridge, when I finally learned that Optima is the font that the winery has used as its brand for the last 40 years. I’ve always admired the look of Ridge’s packaging, and the wines themselves have delivered so much personality, they have remained a perennial favorite as well. In an age when a lot of frou-frou and slick packaging can be used to sell wine, Ridge retains a classic look, and offers a lesson in elegant simplicity.

In my recent interview with Aurajo winemaker Matt Taylor (also of Taylor Cellars), our discussion of the Eisele Vineyard led to the mention of the wine pictured to the left. This historic bottling by Ridge was the first to feature “Eisele” on a wine label, and was also one of the first vineyard-designated wines produced in California (even predating such legendary cult labels as Diamond Creek, which made its debut with the 1972 vintage). What really struck me about the look of this label, however, was the fact that it looks like every other Ridge label that I’ve ever seen.

And why shouldn’t it? I admire the fact that, stylistically, Ridge’s wine label has remained the same for all these years. There’s definitely something to be said about getting things right the first time. I’m not sure who was responsible for Ridge’s label design, but I can tell you that the font itself was designed by renowned typographer Hermann Zapf, who created Optima in 1958. To put this particular font into other familiar contexts, it’s the one used on the National Vietnam Memorial, and Estée Lauder has been using it for decades as well.

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