Arianna Cristiano. Dogliani Castello Juli 2023.
Text Arianna Cristiano* and Emilia Barbu*
Photos Arianna Cristiano*
In Piedmont, there was once the sea.
The Langhe, with its vineyards and grassy meadows were overflowing with salty water, instead of wine… but that was 30 million years ago.
The waves of that sea are now hills, the sea breeze has turned into wind, and sandy bottoms into fertile soil.
Even today, however, seashells sometimes peek out of the vineyard’s soil, bringing with them the sound of waves from a long, long time ago.
So, you see, between a sip of wine and a glance at the horizon, the idea of glimpsing the sail of a boat in the distance won’t seem so absurd anymore…
When traveling, people usually buy postcards and souvenirs. When people come to the Langhe, they bring home a bottle of wine instead. You can think of these labels as our Postcards from Langhe.
Everyone who comes to the Langhe for the first time is bound to fall in love with it. Langhe is the land of Sunday lunches with friends, long walks through the hills, beautiful sunsets and history. But it’s much more than that.
It’s a rich, fertile land, blessed by good weather and a nourishing soil — the same soil that, 30 millions years ago, was the seabed of an ancient sea. To this day, it’s not unusual to find seashells and fossils in the vineyards and that is probably one of the reasons the fruit of this land tastes so precious and unique.
This is the land of hard work and slow life, of love for nature and respect for its rhythms. Of people, communities and friends who protect it and cherish it. And the fruit of their hard work is the wine preserved in this very bottle.
What people hold in their hands is a very special gift: the wine inside these Magnums comes from very small vineyards in Roddino run by the Serafina Quota cultural association, a group of friends and a network of people who share the same vision and enthusiasm. A strong community, who cherishes this land and works hard to ensure it keeps thriving. It’s an unconventional project made with the purpose of connecting with people and creating a space for culture and art. Each year, a different artist is invited to design the wine label, while spending some days in Dogliani and Roddino to get inspiration from the surrounding nature and cultural environment.
So my goal for this year’s label was to pay a tribute to this place, its history and its people. As people set sail for new adventures, I’d like them to think of this bottle as a Postcard from Langhe: a small piece of this land to bring home, as a reminder of the wonderful days they spent here.
Do WHAT YOU LOVE
Ever since I met Yvonne, I’ve been living by these four words. It’s probably the best advice someone has ever given me, and it really made a difference in my life. That’s why, when she asked me to design this year’s label, I couldn’t wait any longer. I knew exactly what I wanted to do: I wanted to tell a story — a story about this place.
When I think about it, at the end of the day, what I love the most comes down to two things: illustration and traveling. I’ve been working as a digital illustrator for the past 7 years, and it’s been great, but at the same time I’ve always felt the need to travel and didn’t want to live my life in front of a computer screen.
I never longed for any exotic destination, though: I live in what I think is the most beautiful country in the world, and I want to see all of it. To this day, it only takes a train ticket and a small backpack to make me the happiest girl on earth.
That’s why, in my free time, I also co-founded a project called Le Strade, an online platform led by a group of friends who love to discover Italian territory through its history, its culture, its landscapes and (most importantly) its food, and share it with as many people as possible. Our motto is “Explore, Discover, Share, Repeat.”
Walking through the vineyards during our stay at Bocciarda with my friends in September 2022, we stumbled upon a seashell in the soil and I immediately wondered — how did this get here?
It was with much surprise that we realized that what we were holding in our hands was the trace of an ancient sea, one that, 30 million years ago, used to cover the whole Langhe region. The soil we were walking on was the very seabed of that ancient ocean.
The sea might be just a prehistoric memory for Piedmont, but I like to imagine that with every sip of this wine we’re reconnecting with that ancient sea, its echoes still resounding in the uniqueness and preciousness of each grape. And, perhaps, after a few glasses, hearing the sound of waves splashing against the shore or catching a glimpse of a sailing boat in the distance won’t seem that far fetched.
My inspiration for this design was the Yves Saint Laurent LOVE greeting cards series. Every year, from 1970 to 2007 he would design a greeting card in poster form and he would send it to friends, collaborators and clients around the world. You can think of these labels as our DO WHAT YOU LOVE greeting cards series. Or, as I like to call them, our Postcard from Langhe.
*Arianna is an illustrator and designer from Rome. Her work spans from digital illustration to graphic design and even photography. Through her work, she likes to tell stories using expressive color, geometry, and visual synthesis. She likes to describe her style as „Mediterranean Pop“.
Since 2016, she has been living in Turin, where she works as an Art Director and Illustrator at Illo, a communication studio internationally recognized in the fields of illustration and motion design. She is also Co-Founder, author and photographer of Le Strade, an online magazine about Italy.
Text has been written with the help of Emilia Barbu
Animated illustrations by https://