Escapism is inherent when it comes to consuming visual art. Similarly, our senses have reflexive reactions to specific flavor profiles. A candy-like taste might evoke childhood memories while certain spices can be reminiscent of a distinct place and time. These aromas help foreshadow what our palate is about to experience. Wine and art are more alike than many might give them credit for, and fine art photographer Gray Malin is living proof. This summer, Malin and family-owned winery Nocking Point unveiled Getaway Rosé, a beautifully dry wine from Washington state rife with notes of citrus and just-ripe red berries, with the bottle serving as a work of art in itself with Malin’s iconic aerial beach imagery adorning the label. A blend of Mourvedre and Syrah, think of this as a Pacific Northwest interpretation of classic Provençal-style rosés, clean and wonderfully dry with slight salinity and a magical ability to pair with just about anything you’re eating. Whether you’re sipping at home or pouring a few cold glasses poolside (better yet, in the comfort of Malin’s brand new custom cabana at The Beverly Hills Hotel), this wine is just what we all need this summer. Here, Malin gives DuJour an inside look at the creative process and how the pale peach-hued wine came to life in spite of this year’s limitations.
Tell me about your relationship with wine up to this point. What inspired and led you to go in this direction?
Throughout my personal journey as a photographer into a lifestyle brand, my brand philosophy has always been to make every day a getaway. And photography can transport you somewhere else–not just hanging on your wall in a two-dimensional form–but a three-dimensional form, an entire mindset and lifestyle. For me, my journey with wine is probably similar to everyone else’s. I started drinking wine in my twenties and through my travels I’ve been very fortunate to get to try a lot of local wine in different regions of the world…it’s more fun to drink the local wine (and more times than often, it’s more affordable). I guess I had a worldly taste for wine just getting to travel all over and that’s been lovely.
But, as a business owner and entrepreneur, the reason I went down the wine route actually started a couple of years ago when I did a fine art collaboration with Veuve Clicquot. It was fascinating. We came together and I created some images using the iconic rosé bottle in some of my photography, which we sold in a limited capacity on our website, and they all sold out. And I realized that my audience, who is buying this sort of escapism photography, also enjoys living the good life and that includes wine. In the years since then it’s been on my mind.
How did your collaboration with Nocking Point Wines come to be? What did the timeline look like from inception to launch?
What drew me to working with Nocking Point [after my team and I did some research] was the fact they have a direct-to-consumer business model. In my opinion, the ability to do something like this in less than three years was a more modern approach and I’d heard [great things about] of one of their past partnerships. They really are experts in partnerships with diverse people to make unique wine, and that was also interesting to me. I met with them last October and we got along and we just decided to move forward and make this happen.
If I had to pick the wine that my brand really represents, it’s sparkling [or] rosé.
Tell me about the wine and what role you played in the final product.
The process ended up being very different than we had planned due to COVID; I think we were hoping to go up to Washington state and tour the vineyards and have a more hands-on approach, but in the end we let Nocking Point take the lead and they put together five different blends, which they sent to us in Los Angeles. We tried them all and there was one that I really liked, and there was one that our vice president really liked, too. They were both delicious. The [sample bottles] came with just a piece of duct tape on them and a scribble, and then we had our beautiful label, so we printed that out onto nice paper in our office and taped it onto bottles and poured the wines to understand what the whole experience would look like. We decided to go with this color because we thought it looked really nice with the label and it’s a wonderful blend; it’s 80% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah. It’s very light, definitely on the drier side, very refreshing, and sort of easy-drinking.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy Getaway Rosé, personally?
You know, I had a great experience the other night and I’d do it again. We went out on a family friend’s wooden boat and I was actually taking a couple pictures of the wine just for our marketing and after I finished I poured this cold, crisp glass and we watched the sunset from the boat on the shores of Lake Michigan. It was heavenly–the beautiful color of the rosé, the lake, just being out on the water. That really was an ideal spot for me to have a glass of this rosé. I felt like I was living the experience. I’ve also had it just sitting with my feet in the pool, and it’s delicious on a hot summer day.
What does the future look like for this wine?
If all goes well, we hope to do a second run in spring 2021. We’ll see!
How can our readers get ahold of some bottles of their own?
Every month Nocking point releases a new special wine for its members, so this is one of the wines that people who are subscribed to the monthly Tastemakers’ Club membership will receive. You can also become a member now and receive it (you’ll get $20 off of your first order), or you can buy as a non-member in packs of two, three, six, or 12 bottles. Existing members get 10% off on all future orders. Shipping is free for all members.
You know, everyone’s different about these subscriptions; some people love it and some people don’t want to be tied down, so it’s nice that it’s not just subscription-based so that people feel comfortable all-around.
This article has been edited and condensed for clarity.