Wine label gets stamp of approval

The first independent New Zealand postal stamp from 1898 was the inspiration for boutique Marlborough winery Walnut Block Wines' award-winning label.

The stamp is about as old as the Wairau Valley wine company's namesake walnut tree that stands at the heart of the vineyard.

Walnut Wines won a swathe of awards with the design for its 2010 pinot noir, including best bottle in show, at the 2010 Boutique Wine Packaging Awards in Australia two weeks ago.

Director Clyde Sowman said he was no stamp collector, but had seen the stamp before and had always loved the design.

Mr Sowman took the concept to Blenheim graphic designer Alex Lloyd, who designed the label.

"I thought it was very New Zealand and we were looking for a stamp that represented some New Zealand history and also tied in with the age of the [walnut] tree," Mr Sowman said.

The tree was estimated to be more than 100 years old and was the oldest in Marlborough, he said.

It was a reminder of the time it took for things to grow and the company took that philosophy for business, he said.

Good design was important for creating a successful brand, especially in Marlborough with so many wineries, and winning the design award showed the company was on the right track, he said.

Walnut Wines made 1200 cases of pinot noir and 5000 cases of sauvignon blanc and exported almost all, mostly to Australia.

The wine was made with fruit from the Sowman family owned 17-hectare Walnut Block Estate.

The first vintage was in 2005.

The Marlborough Express