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Enjoying wine for some of us is more than the drink itself. Some are fascinated with the vintage, the region, the vineyard’s history, the owners. But for me, it’s the story behind the design of the wine label that I find so intriguing.

Imagine a boy about 10 years old in a small rural community in California. His parents are in town having lunch and buying groceries. It’s the 1950s and he and his brother are avid collectors of matchbooks from restaurants and businesses. The matchbooks were frequently placed at or near the business’s entrance in large fishbowls and easy for the boys to grab and hide in their pockets.

While the parents are in town the boys are playing around with some of the matchbooks. They not looking for mischief but simply spending time on a sunny afternoon. It’s a familiar game of throwing a book of matches in an attempt to get it to ignite.

But the game takes a turn when they boys catch fire to the grass on the front lawn. They watch helplessly as the grass fire spreads to the family home, burning it entirely to the ground.

As if this were not tragic enough, the fire spreads to the thousand-acre wheat field ready for the family harvest, resulting in a total loss of the year’s crop.

Fast forward many years later, and John Giguiere is sitting with his father discussing names for his new wine venture. His father offers a simple suggestion: If it hadn’t been for the matchbook, things would be different. Thus the name of his wine and the burned edges of the Matchbook label.


  • 2013 Matchbook Chardonnay, California (about $11 retail)


  • 2014 Matchbook Tinto Rey, California (about $16 retail)