Chateau Mouton-Rothschild chooses Chinese artist to design 2008 vintage label

French wine maker Chateau Mouton-Rothschild has continued the tradition of commissioning an artist to design a label for (in this case) the 2008 vintage.  First begun in 1924, and then every year since the end of the Second World War, the Chateau has employed many famous artists to design their labels.

Some of the artists previously honoured include Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, George Braque, Francis Bacon and the Prince of Wales.  This year, the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild reached out to a Chinese artist for the first time.

Vintage Label Design 2008 of Mouton Rothschild by Xu-Lei

Vintage Label Design 2008 of Mouton Rothschild by Xu-Lei

Xu Lei is a graduate of the prestigious Nanjing Academy of Fine Arts and is also the current director of the Today Art Museum in Beijing.  His design incorporates traditional Chinese ink drawings, done in predominantly blue, of the Chateau’s familiar ram standing on a rock between two moons.  The image is intended to show that a great wine can be the link between East and West; between two people and cultures.

It is not surprising that a Chinese artist was chosen, since Chinese demand for fine wine has pushed auction prices to record high levels.  In January of this year there was speculation that a Chinese artist would be chosen and almost overnight the prices jumped from $2,800 per case to over $3,400 per case.

Since then, the 2008 vintage has become the most traded wine on the Liv-Ex Index, with prices in recent weeks reaching a very lofty $9,350 per case.  All this in wild anticipation of pent up demand from China.  The 2008 vintage has a special place in Chinese hearts, since it was the year they hosted the Olympics and the word ‘eight’ sounds very much like the Chinese word for ‘wealth’ or ‘prosper.’  Eight is considered a very auspicious number in China.

While the vintage has yet to be released from the Chateau’s cellars in Southwestern France, they are expected to hit retail outlets in France in January, and in the rest of the world by February of 2011.  Mr. Xu did not receive a cash payment for his efforts, but don’t feel sorry for him.  In addition to the honour of being chosen, he also picked up 10 cases of the wine.



Leave a Reply