I’VE BEEN MAKING WINE SINCE THE 70'S. In that time, I’ve worked for some of the most iconic brands, won a bunch of awards, and made fantastic friends who continue to fill my soul with joy. Why, then, would I start my own wine label at this point in life?
To get back to basics: Growing grapes, making wine, and being creative along the way. I also want to use the wine as a way to give back to the community, and support charities in my adopted hometown of Healdsburg, Sonoma County, and beyond.
A funny thing happens in the wine industry—the more success you have as a winemaker, the less independent you become. Sure, the process is always challenging, but with accolades come expectations, and with expectations come a host of responsibilities that are only peripherally connected to the craft. Managing people. Running companies. Marketing the brand all over the world. Don’t get me wrong—I understand these things are important to the bottom line, recognize the value they bring to a winery operation, and appreciate the unique opportunities I had to be that guy. For me, however, it was time to return to the grassroots approach that got me excited about winemaking in the first place.
If you’re not going to take the time to read this site and understand more about what I’m trying to accomplish, these are just going to be another set of hundred dollar wines. So, please, poke around. Get to know a little more about what I’m trying to accomplish here. And prepare yourself for wines—and an overall experience—that will hopefully change your life.
-Bob Cabral, Winemaker & Owner
The Label Story
My wife Heather and I were fortunate enough to work with Byron Hoffman on our label design. This process was developed though several meetings at our home in Healdsburg that would sometimes last four or five hours. We talked about our family, my passion for music (rock ‘n’ roll in particular), how the wine business has provided us with an amazing life, and why we decided to pursue this project. We believe Byron very much captured our vision. This was one of the most rewarding processes I have ever been through. It seemed to finally bring our dream to life.
I adamantly resisted having my name “splashed” across the labels, so it may take a much closer look to find it. “Bob Cabral Wines” was used because the name “Cabral” had already be trademarked by a North American company importing Portuguese ports. That was just fine with me. We have used proprietary names for each wine. Each of those names has personal meaning and significance, those names have the largest font you’ll see on each label. Appellation, varietal, and vintage also are visible, since those are the most relevant information to any wine label. Byron deftly added many subtle elements from my fascination of old concert posters: the “bleeding” of color and backward lettering in a sort of balloon font to the color and texture of the paper stock we used. Each label also has a fragment of song lyric that I chose for a number of different reasons. Each is unique and meaningful to me, and I hope you find your own inspiration or muse as you enjoy the wines.
Rat De Cave
The French candle-stand called “Rat de Cave” or Cellar Rat, was the essential working tool used in the wine cellars of Burgundy. Its origin stems from far back in the past. In the year 1000 the Monks of the famous Abbey of Cluny, near Vougeot, used it to illuminate the caves that housed their wine barrels. This provided them with the necessary light to work with the wine barrels throughout the vintage. During fermentation, the colour of the flame showed the eventual evolution of gases as the wines underwent a chemical transformation. The Monks then knew to leave the caves due to lack of oxygen - a “canary” if you will. The handle or “rats tail” provides an easy grip and the hook permits to hang the stand on a nail or the head of an oak barrel. This would allow the Monks to rack the clear wine off of the heavy sediment or lees.
We chose this “tool” as a tribute or symbol to the traditional Burgundian methods I am using to craft our wines. Incorporating these traditions is an essential part of my winemaking thought process and vision - plus it’s really cool. You will not see this symbol on any of our labels, but should become quite familiar with it on the end of our bottle capsules. We hope that the flame inspires everyone towards a world of hope, peace and love.