Arizona has always had a footing in the fruit industry, at one point even having more grapes in the ground than California, according to Peggy Fiandaca, president of the Arizona Wine Growers Association.
The Valley had many farms in the 1950s and used the Grand Avenue railroad to transport fruit crates, such as those that held grapes, from Glendale to Phoenix and Los Angeles.
It was a simpler era, and grape crate labels reflected this with minimalist designs.
The Arrowhead label is a twinge more modern than some of its 1950s contemporaries. The company that produced the grapes, Arrowhead Ranches, was located near 67th Avenue and Bell Road in Glendale. It operated until the 1980s, when it closed to make way for a housing subdivision. The large writing on the label looks multi-dimensional, but the grapes are the main focus, as is an Arizona farm landscape.
The grape crate labels produced in Arizona in the 1950s are simple and conceptually “safe,” a reflection on the era in which they were created. By contrast, the labels on some of the bottles made in Arizona’s wine industry – which has exploded in recent years since the first grapes were planted in Sonoita in the 1970s – are bolder, edgier and more playful.
Sonoita-based Arizona Hops and Vines makes some of the most creative and striking labels of any winery in Arizona. Their “Vintage Red” wine label depicts a pin-up-style woman perched on a wooden counter holding a glass full of red wine. Shannon Zouzoulas, co-owner of Arizona Hops and Vines, says the process of crafting the wine labels is a collaboration between herself and her sister, Megan Haller. “It’s a combination of the wine she makes... which we usually are enjoying during the planning... and any upcoming events we might be able to tie it into,” Zouzoulas says.
Another of Hops and Vines’ labels, for their moscato called “The Fluffer,” depicts a woman’s hand firmly gripping the base of the bottle. “The best part is watching the way it affects people. Everyone responds to each label so differently. Some people even tear up,” Zouzoulas says.
Cheers to an Arizona industry that defies simple labels.