Beneduce Crafted Series Puts Italian Hand Gestures To Good Use

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Abraham Lule’s packaging for Beneduce Vineyards’ Crafted Series was designed to showcase the techniques and craftsmanship behind the winery’s unique characteristics. Not only that, Lule took inspiration from the widely known hand gestures that we all love from Italian culture and customs.

The handcrafted drawings beautifully balance the classical design of the rest of the label, making for a comprehensive and authentic combination.

The labels themselves are made from 15% group waste and 85% SC-certified pulp and sealed with a relaxed single tape, aligning with the brand’s sustainability program.

“Hand-crafted.” In wine, it speaks to what happens inside the winery—where the winemaker perfects blends, attempts new styles, and experiments with tradition.

Our packaging work for Beneduce Vineyards’ Crafted Series is designed to showcase how the techniques behind the wines influence their unique expressions. So with inspiration from one of the most natural, playful forms of expression—Italian hand gestures—we nod to the winemaker’s touch, and in this case, heritage as a fourth-generation Italian American farmer.

Italian hand gestures are an ancient form of nonverbal communication, originating as a necessity for trading between cultures. Surviving gestures range from too-risque-for-table-talk to almost-ubiquitous (the ‘ok’ symbol), and will be all-too-familiar to those who “talk with their hands.” One can say so much without even speaking!

Thinking about the design, we knew we wanted to respect the history of the gestures, but bring our own modern, expressive take. Paging through the 1952 book Speak Italian: The Fine Art of the Gesture (02) by Milanese graphic designer Bruno Munari, we scribbled notes and possibilities.

It was a 1958 reprinting of Munari’s dictionary in La Domenica de Corriere (03), an Italian weekly newspaper, that served as the final reference for our label compositions. A swatch of Avery Dennison Grape Touch paper (04)—made from 15% grape waste and 85% FSC-certified pulp—completed our set of design choices and aligned the series to Beneduce Vineyards’ sustainability program.

The resulting illustrations are intentionally hand-drawn and imperfect. Sketch-like, they contrast the neat and tight dictionary-style composition of the rest of the label.

Every gesture connotes the wine inside—and a greater meaning. For the hard-to-pronounce gewürztraminer,we illustrated the “Che vuoi?” finger purse, a gesture that humorously prods: “But, what are you saying?” And for the highly drinkable rose pet nat, we used the instantly recognizable gesture for “Drink up.” ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The full label is a single printing—minimizing waste and creating a point of interaction. You have to turn the bottle to see the full effect. The tiny divot to the right of the illustration is reminiscent of the dictionary we were inspired by, marking the separation between the horizontal and vertical labels.

Looking closely, you’ll see a blind emboss of the brand logo that sits in the same position as the logo on the Classic Series. In that series, the prominent ‘Beneduce Vineyards’ speaks to terroir and farming: the focus of those wines. Here, the focus is on each wine’s individual personality, whether wryly sparkling or shamelessly fruit-forward. The brand just serves as a stamp of quality.​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​

With the illustrations as the focal point, the writing is treated like a imaginative caption: a sly unpacking of the connection between gesture and wine that leads with the technical choices and winemaking process. An orange wine, for example, made from white wine left on the grape skins, is described as “in-between” with a gesture that says the same.

And since most of the wines in the Crafted Series are meant to be enjoyed young and fresh, the bottle-cap finish is closed with the reminder that wine is not something you stash away, but ‘For Everyday Enjoyment.’ ​​​​​​​

However, for wines that might be aged, we close them simply and sustainably with a cork burnished with a rose seal. Like the rest of the bottle, the rose speaks subtly to the Beneduces’ lineage: the family’s great-great grandparents were rose-growers who immigrated from southern Italy in the 1920s. At the end of every row of vines at Beneduce Vineyards, rose bushes serve as a reminder of generations past.

Now, the rose has a new place at the beginning of every bottle. And when the bottle’s empty, guests are invited to ask for more with their hands.

Project Credits

Abraham Lule

Corey Lewis