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The Art

Explore the real-life inspirations.

Inspiration MV Chardonnay Harvest Label

The Harvest

The fruits of our labor.

In the early days of Napa, the spirit of enterprise knew no boundaries. Representing the strength that female laborers brought to Napa, our label features a heroic woman mid-stride. During her day at the vineyard, she would pick the grapes herself and throw clusters of them behind her into her basket. Other times, she would wait as others filled her basket with grapes. Once her basket was full, she would reshoulder it, then hike to a drop-off point where a horse-drawn wagon brought larger baskets or boxes and stood by at the ready.

As she approached the wagon, the female worker would lean forward to dump the grapes straight from her back, over her head, and into the collection containers. Often, other workers would pitch in to help lift and distribute the 30 pounds of fruit she carried. Then she would march on to repeat the cycle until harvesting time came to an end.

 

The Press

Strong under pressure.

The maker spirit took root early on within Napa. At the time, makers relied on wood and fiber to construct an instrument that was key to vineyard success, the hand wine press. As time ticked on, makers shifted toward metal parts for critical details like screws and bindings. However, the wooden slats of the press continued to be useful, allowing grape juice to pour into barrels once pressed away from the skins.

As our illustration depicts, operating the press requires significant physical strength. The greater the pressure one exerts, the more juice is extracted—so the challenge to press on was a real one. Today, winemakers typically turn to modern pneumatic and electrical presses to squeeze the grapes, making today’s winemaking a far less heavy lift.

 
Inspiration MV Cabernet Sauvignon Press Label
Inspiration MV Cabernet Sauvignon Press Label

The Press

Strong under pressure.

The maker spirit took root early on within Napa. At the time, makers relied on wood and fiber to construct an instrument that was key to vineyard success, the hand wine press. As time ticked on, makers shifted toward metal parts for critical details like screws and bindings. However, the wooden slats of the press continued to be useful, allowing grape juice to pour into barrels once pressed away from the skins.

As our illustration depicts, operating the press requires significant physical strength. The greater the pressure one exerts, the more juice is extracted—so the challenge to press on was a real one. Today, winemakers typically turn to modern pneumatic and electrical presses to squeeze the grapes, making today’s winemaking a far less heavy lift.

 
Inspiration White Wine Mill Keeper Label

The Mill

A salute to the mills.

It’s impossible to separate the history of the Napa Valley from the folks who built its first mills. The mills supplied so much more than their physical output—they created a sense of community and a chance for dispersed, isolated settlers to gather and share in a collective purpose together.

Inside Napa’s mills, workers had a place to hew wood, carve stones, grind the seeds of wheat and corn, and make Napa’s first wines. The industry and enterprise that early unsung heroes contributed was a demonstration of what Napa had to offer to the world at large—determination, workmanship, and craft. 

 

The Cooper

Unsung artisan, maker, and repairer of barrels.

With draw knife in hand, the woman in the background is smoothing and finishing the wood. In front of her, the man tightens the bands that hold the staves, or slats, in place.

To create these staves, barrel makers had to first mill the lumber either by hand or by harnessing nature’s energy with the force of a water-powered sawmill. Next, the lumber moved on to cure, or age, shrinking as the moisture left. Then the wood for the staves was steamed, bent, and curved into shape.

To fit barrel heads and staves together, coopers created a system of grooves—with no nails necessary until affixing the metal bands. Most fine wine barrels are still hand-crafted today, a testament to the timeless art and exquisite craftsmanship of the cooper.

 
Inspiration Red Wine Cooper Label
Inspiration Red Wine Cooper Label

The Cooper

Unsung artisan, maker, and repairer of barrels.

With draw knife in hand, the woman in the background is smoothing and finishing the wood. In front of her, the man tightens the bands that hold the staves, or slats, in place.

To create these staves, barrel makers had to first mill the lumber either by hand or by harnessing nature’s energy with the force of a water-powered sawmill. Next, the lumber moved on to cure, or age, shrinking as the moisture left. Then the wood for the staves was steamed, bent, and curved into shape.

To fit barrel heads and staves together, coopers created a system of grooves—with no nails necessary until affixing the metal bands. Most fine wine barrels are still hand-crafted today, a testament to the timeless art and exquisite craftsmanship of the cooper.

 
Inspiration Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaker Label

The Winemaker

The future may be female, but so is the past.

There’s no time like the present to honor the past. In Napa Valley, that means paying homage to the many female pioneers who led the way forward for the generations of winemakers who would follow in their successful pathways.

Inspired by the legacy of Maria Ignacia Soberanes Bale, our artwork commemorates the female artisans who crafted some of the earliest wine in the Napa Valley. After her husband’s death, she took steps to modernize their Bale Mill and provide essential services to her neighbors by grinding their wheat and grains into flour and operating a sawmill to prepare wood for barrel-making. Under her auspicious sensibility and passion for hard work, the mill made her the wealthiest woman in the area. May we all honor these forgotten Napa Valley pioneers.

 

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