Pieter H Walser breaks the rules when it comes to wine making, so why would he not do the same with his labels? The South African created BLANKbottle precisely because he was fed up with fancy labels and wanted to focus on the contents rather than the wording on the bottle. Walser explains the inspiration behind the idea with the story of a woman who came to his door and asked to buy some wine – she was happy to accept his recommendation as long as it wasn’t Shiraz. He gave her a glass of something, she loved it and bought several cases. It was, of course, Shiraz. And that little episode convinced him that labels carry too much influence on the wine we buy. So, he took the radical step of putting no detail on the labels.
Take a look at the labels which carry an enigmatic title, a picture, hand crafted by Walser, and little else. The maker’s policy is to say nothing about the grapes or the proportions in the blend. And he takes a casual approach to more than just the label. Indeed, Walser suggests that the plan behind his technique for making his sought-after products is simply not to think too much about it. As an experimental winemaker, he changes direction every year, buying in grapes and blending them in different ways to make a natural wine. His maverick approach extends to him using bottles of different shapes.
The idea of a wine that tells its own story has caught the imagination of diners in some of the world’s finest restaurants. They like the uniqueness of the wine and the tale that lies behind it. But, Walser has created an escape for those who want to know a bit more about the wine they are drinking. For, although there is no real information about the wine on the label, there is a QR code. And, with a casual swipe of a smartphone, all is revealed about the varietals in the blend and the story behind the wine. Walser’s minimalist approach is evident in the following bottles, while the idiosyncratic names he gives his wines are evidence of the unique approach of this intriguing individual.