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Left Field, the birthplace of the unexpected, weird and wonderful

The Hawkes Bay region is known for its impeccable winemaking and Te Awa Collection’s Left Field is no exception. Looks-wise however, the brand was overdue for a change.  

Te Awa’s brand manager Ali Campbell says: “The label was pretty dull, and it didn’t really have a story behind it other than that the wine was originally sourced for the left field vineyard of Te Awa”.

To create the new labels they enlisted the help of Aaron Pollock, who has worked with Villa Maria as part of their portfolio of brands.

The designer behind the illustrations studied communications design at the Unitec Design School and began his career in Auckland before moving to the US for 12 years working in the advertising industry.

In 2008, he moved to New York with his wife before moving back to Devonport with their son in 2011 where he has opened a design studio.

“We wanted the illustrations to feel like evidence of something that was either invented or washed up on the Left Field.

The objective was to create a strong personality and sense of place for Left Field through entertaining storytelling,” he says.

The vintage illustrations were cut, dissected and reassembled to create the bizarre creatures, characters and contraptions that are now on bottles.

These illustrations were then re-drawn and became the inspiration for the names, folklore and half-truths about the goings on in the Left Field.

Pollock illustrated over 20 different creatures, with only eight selected for the launch, with the rest available to be used in the future. 

The Squid Crab, Flamingo Recluse, Lizard Fish, Flying Squidmill, Hatchling Deer, Moon Shell Moth, Flying Boatship, Harvest Duel all represent a different wine.

On closer inspection the creatures each have a piece of the Te Awa windmill incorporated into them, whether it be the Hatchling Deer or the Flamingo Recluse.

Unlike Te Awa’s Kidnapper Cliff and Single Estate range, the fruit used to make the Left Field wine goes beyond the estate’s boundaries, sourced from Marlborough and Gisborne.

As Te Awa is one of the sub-brands of Villa Maria, illustrating the labels is something very untraditional for them.

“We have a lot of brands that are successful that are classical and traditional…we haven’t gone down that route with Left Field, we wanted to steer away from that style.”

And steer away they have, creating not only beautiful wine but also pieces of art in their own right. 

Recently graduated from AUT's journalism undergraduate programme, Catrin has a unhealthy love of dogs, sun, beaches, and coffee. She's also Welsh and proud to let you know it.

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