On November 18, surrounded by friends, family and art-world notables, Bedell Cellars, a pioneering winery on the North Fork of Long Island, New York, launched First Crush Red 2013, a bottle label collaboration with the artist and filmmaker, Mickalene Thomas.

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The November release continues a long tradition of wine label collaborations between Bedell Cellars and renowned contemporary artists, with previous releases featuring works by Chuck Close, Barbara Kruger, Eric Fischl, April Gornik and Ross Bleckner.

For the label, Mickalene selected a collage from her 2014 series, Tête de Femme, portraying abstracted female faces constructed from abstracted geometric cutouts. In this work, Mickalene combines art-historical, political, and pop-cultural references to comment on notions of beauty and gender in the 21st century. Her work explores the intricacies of female beauty through painting and collage, focusing on how artifice serves both to mask and reveal the individual essence of her subjects.

First Crush Red 2013 is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot comprised of the first red fruit harvested in the 2013 vintage. The grapes were grown on Bedell’s estate with certified sustainable farming practices, hand-harvested, and fermented entirely with native yeast in stainless steel tanks. The wine is bright and elegant, with soft tannins and refreshing acidity, delivering aromas and flavors reminiscent of the North Fork’s unique maritime terroir.

Michael Lynne, owner of Bedell Cellars, with a long and distinguished career in the film industry, who has been an avid collector of contemporary art for many years and who is a member of the Board of Trustees of MoMA, said,

“At Bedell, we are committed to great winemaking and combining these wonderful wines with extraordinary artwork from major contemporary artists is a perfect marriage of these two passions in my life. I have collected Mickalene’s art for many years, am a true fan of her work, and also truly value our friendship. I am delighted that Mickalene was so enthusiastic about having her dramatic artwork on our label for the upcoming release of our 2013 First Crush Red.”

Mickalene Thomas added,

“I feel very fortunate to work with Bedell Cellars on their First Crush Red in company with such a celebrated group of artists. When Michael reached out to me about the collaboration, I knew immediately that I wanted to consider an image from my ‘untitled’ series due to the abstract and complex structure with vibrant color and sharpness – it just seemed perfect for the blend.”

Bedell Cellars First Crush Red 2013 with artist label by Mickalene Thomas will be available in limited quantities nationwide at select fine dining restaurants, fine wine retailers, and direct-to-consumer shipments from online orders placed at www.bedellcellars.com

Retail price is $25.00 per 750mL bottle. Bedell Cellars will release the companion First Crush White 2014 with label by Mickalene Thomas in April 2015.

For more information please visit www.bedellcellars.com