By Blanche Minoza
You have probably had the experience of standing dumbfounded in front of vast shelves of wine, overwhelmed by the multitudinous options. But have you ever considered the creative processes that guided those bottles to those shelves, wrapped in the carefully chosen, colorful designs before you?
Argyle Winery’s Art of Sparkling program combines the creative genius of students at the Pacific Northwest College of Art with the intricacy of the wine company’s production process. Argyle gains beautiful, unique labels to adorn their product, and in return, student artists receive financial aid to continue their artistic endeavors and develop their abilities.
From a pool of dozens of applicants, a few selected individuals participate in an in-depth, behind-the-scenes exploration of the science and history behind Argyle Winery. Students tour the grounds in Dundee, Oregon, which comprise Knudsen Vineyards, Lone Star Vineyard, Spirit Hill Vineyard, and Argyle’s Tasting House. Inspired by the winery’s landscape, history, and values, the students have several weeks and creative freedom to produce an illustration that is both aesthetically remarkable and imbued with cultural significance. Argyle then features the chosen works on labels for a custom series of Vintage Brut.
The $5,000 grant is one of 40 scholarships and prizes available to students enrolled in PNCA’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program. However, some participants consider the opportunity alone priceless; Lindsay Walker, one of the Fall 2016 winners, shared that, in addition to adding to one’s portfolio, the project legitimizes students’ artistic endeavors and demonstrates that their art has tangible value in the market.
Art of Sparkling was a work-in-progress for five years before launching in fall of 2016. Argyle Winery has vehemently worked to support the arts in local communities, embarking on collaborations with organizations such as Portland Center Stage, Portland Jazz Festival, and Portland Opera. In 2017, Argyle celebrated its 30th year in farming vineyards, winemaking, and establishing relationships all along the Willamette Valley.
The limited edition, custom-packaged Art of Sparkling set includes three bottles of Argyle Vintage Brut, each on bearing an illustration by one of the three selected artists and accompanied by artists’ profiles. They are available at Argyle’s Tasting House and online.