Naming a Wine is Different than Naming a Human Being

OurLittleProject-drawNaming a winery or a vineyard or even giving a single wine a name beyond the varietal or the place where it was made is a pretty interesting project to undertake. I’ve been involved in a number of such projects. Every time I’ve been involved in such a project, the first question I answer when coming up with particular names is this: “What impression will the name leave with the people who will be buying the product?” There are other issues to deal with, but answering this question is paramount. In the end, the wine must be sold.

What’s interesting and what I’ve been thinking about today is that this question barely even enters the equation when naming a human being.

Do I really care what impression will be left on people if we name Our Little Project baking in Kathy’s tummy James, Jeffrey or Jerry? Not very much. Today we were able to start to narrow the names that we are considering for Our Little Project when we discovered that the Project has perfectly developed male equipment. So, “Olive Mae” as a name is no longer in the running.

The second most important question to answer about a potential name for a winery or wine is, “Does the name reflect significant meaning about the winery or wine?” For example, “Wark Family Winery” would reflect significant meaning about a winery I might start. Given the street I live on, “Serendipity Cellars” would provide a meaningful brand name. And I’ve even played with the idea of releasing an Anderson Valley custom-crushed Riesling under the brand name, “Fermentati”.  Again, there’s a relationship there to what I do that would provide meaning.

Where Our Little Project is concerned, deciding on a name that has significant meaning is in fact the most important consideration I can come up with. When Our Little Project one day asks, “Why did you name me….X?”, I don’t want to have to say, “We thought it was a cute name”. There is very little significance or meaning in what Kathy and I find cute. I’ve always believed that a person’s name ought to connect them to their family, who they are, and from where they come. And so, this rule will guide the naming of Our Little Project, with its male equipment and all.

Of course the reason why naming wine on the one hand and naming a little boy on the other requires different thinking is because Kathy and I are very unlikely to market and sell the child one day. Raising child is expensive. And, you never know, times might get tough. But one thing we’ve been able to decide is that Our Little Project won’t go on the block. As decisions go, it’s a start.


6 Responses

  1. Michael - January 9, 2014

    That was fun to read – just had to name our boy last year and now having to name our winemaking project and the first wines. Best point for me: “requires different thinking is because Kathy and I are very unlikely to market and sell the child one day”

  2. larry - January 9, 2014

    actually, i’m afraid you have already started marketing the child. not with an intent to sell, maybe, but definitely hoping to burnish the brand wark in future.

  3. Tom Wark - January 9, 2014

    Larry, can the work of burnishing a brand that needs so much work start too early?

  4. Jeff - January 9, 2014

    You really can’t go wrong with “Jeffrey”. With a “J” of course.

  5. Judy - January 10, 2014

    This was wonderful to receive. I am so very happy for you and Kathy. You are truly blessed and his name will be significant because he will be significant.

  6. Naming Wine, Naming Boys and Taking the Throne of England - Fermentation - March 10, 2014

    […] I’ve written before that Our Little Project’s name must have meaning and concluded, “I’ve always believed that a person’s name ought to connect them to their family, who they are, and where they came from. And so, this rule will guide the naming of Our Little Project with its male equipment and all.” […]


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