Celebrating fine art is a core mission of Artiste Winery, whose owners, Bion and Anna Rice, started collaborating with artists from near and far to create their labels when they launched the brand more than 20 years ago. Many of their bottles — mostly empty ones — still serve as decorations in my own house, as it was one of the first wine clubs I ever joined half a lifetime ago. In fact, a limited print of one of the earliest collabs with Christina LoCascio Larner looms over our dining table, a wine-as-paint piece that both my wife and I secretly jostled over buying as an anniversary gift during a wine club event until we realized we were both trying to do the same thing. (She won the race, but we both won the painting.)
For Artiste’s upcoming release of sparkling rosé and chardonnay, the Rices are sourcing straight from downtown Santa Barbara. Those two bottles feature the environmentally ethereal paintings of Colette Cosentino, whose working studio and gallery is located at 11 West Anapamu Street.
Cosentino is known for much larger works than what a wine bottle allows, but these particular pieces very much match the wines. The sparkler, which is based in chardonnay with a 10 percent carignane addition, sports a very fine mousse, with strawberry and light rose flavors playing against a steely minerality, complemented by the artist’s leafy label, which is titled “Fruits.” The chardonnay from La Presa Vineyard is laced in sunny apple and bright citrus tones, much like Cosentino’s green-and-yellow speckled piece “Greenbelt” that accompanies the bottle.
“During the pandemic, I had the time and space to reflect on what Artiste really is and how I wanted the brand to expand and move forward in new ways,” said Anna Rice. “After working with artists from across the country for more than 20 years, being home in Santa Barbara during the lockdown allowed me to reconnect with my local Santa Barbara community.” That’s when she found Cosentino’s studio, and they were soon working together.
The wines and a selection of Cosentino’s work are available at the Artiste Tasting Studio, 2948 Grand Ave. in Los Olivos, and via artiste.com. Colette Cosentino Atelier, 11 W. Anapamu St., is open by appointment only. See colettecosentino.com