Ultra Violet has earned top spot in 2018, symbolizing experimentation, anti-conformity and the revolution of creativity. In the world of wine, so, too, do we esteem those who carve their own path, who steadfastly lean into the vulnerable public display of their art and innovation. From vinification methods to creative direction of labelling and artwork, here are some trailblazing wines that exemplify the same originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking as Pantone's colour of the year. —Laura Starr
gut oggau. Eduard and Stephanie Tscheppe make wines in Oggau, Austria, with such distinct personalities that they crafted an entire three-generation family tree of fictional characters, each matched to a wine and fully outfitted with background history, interwoven family drama and, the best part, an actual sketch of their faces for the labels (by artist Jung von Matt). These "face labels" are so detail focused, every new vintage displays a slightly more aged version of the family character. Goes without saying, these wines are expertly crafted, terroir-driven and incredibly delicious.
alpha box & dice. This boutique Australian winery aims to be experimental and adventurous—oh, and to make a wine for every letter of the alphabet (hence the name) with different grapes in different terroir around Australia. Alpha Box & Dice's drinks are incredibly unique, yet always crafted with skill and intention. The names and labels of its alphabet portfolio are not disappointing: edgy, colourful and modern. Now you know your ABCs, next time won't you sip with me?
b.c. shoutout! The British Columbia wine industry is entangled in innovation and creative exploits. Fort Berens winery was the first to plant vines in the new area of Lillooet (and with great success); Bella Wines just released an uncommon style of sparkling called Trad-Nat (a natural wine made in the traditional sparkling method); and A Sunday in August has local artist Gina Mackay paint watercolour labels to suit the approachability and un-pretention of his wines (with new artists lined up for future vintages). Support your local wineries, and branch out fearlessly to try the incredible concoctions they pour their lives into!