Written by Carla Hawkins
Craig and Carla Hawkins, owners of TESTALONGA wines, often get asked what inspires and who designs their labels.
The answer, as with most things in their business, is that they do it themselves. Apart from making wine, Craig has shifted his artistic talent from painting to designing labels.
Most of the labels are photos that friends or family have taken, which Craig then plays around with to come up with various labels.
The Cortez & Baby Bandito labels
The Cortez was the second wine made for the El Bandito range; the first vintage released in 2009. Each year the label of this wine changes, so Craig and Carla are always on the lookout for striking photos. Favourites from the past include the rhino from 2017 and Carlo Lupori with flowers in 2019.
The portrait of the rhino was found in a gallery in Parkhurst. On chatting to the owner, it was revealed that she had taken the photo of the graffiti in Durban, by an artist named Moody. Sadly, he has since passed away and the graffiti was painted over. Only three prints exist, one of which hangs in Carla and Craig’s lounge.
Carlo Lupori (2019) works for Craig and Carla’s importer in the UK (Les Caves De Pyrene) and sent this beautiful photo of him holding flowers. The photo was taken by his good friend who unfortunately also passed away. Carlo is a good friend of Craig and Carla, and this image was so lovely that they had to use it, as well as dedicate the wine to his friend.
The Baby Bandito range was first released in 2015. Always on the lookout for interesting images, Craig saw this one hanging on the wall of his brother’s new house. He immediately asked if he could use it for a label. The image was taken on travels around Southeast Asia, where they came across a typical fishing scene in Cambodia. The photo was cropped to make the little girl the focal point of the image, as she has a plaster on her finger.
The wines in this range (Keep on Punching, Stay Brave, Follow Your Dreams, and Chin Up) have names of sayings that you might say to a child or person that is facing adversity, it’s all about being positive and looking forward, perfectly summed up in the beautiful image of this child. Craig also took his love for street art and spray-painted the names of the wines onto the image.
Click here to read more Making wine from grapes – The Testalonga approach to natural wine