Dear Jost Vineyards –
My wife and I were in the liquor store last night, here in Halifax, looking for some wine for the weekend.
All right, so I’m lying right off the bat. I was looking for beer – SHE was looking for wine.
She spotted a tall display of your brand new Selkie Wine.
“Oh,” I said. “That looks good.”
It DID look good, too. My wife and I have enjoyed Jost wine in the past – even though I am a beer drinker by preference. And we ALWAYS enjoy shopping from and supporting local industries.
“It DOES look good,” my wife said. “But I’m not buying it.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Take a look at the label.”
So I did – fully expecting to see some foul additive that my wife might be allergic to. Only there were no additives. There was something worse.
Jost – you goofed up big time.
The name – Selkie – is a perfect name for a summer wine. Just looking at that name makes me think of something deep and mysterious, yet as refreshing as a splash of ocean mist. I can smell the tang of an Atlantic morning, I can hear seabirds calling – heck, the name gets me so darned excited that I briefly consider forswearing my allegiance to the noble ale and converting to wine.
Only briefly, you understand.
Because Jost – you goofed up big time.
The Selkie is a favorite mythological sea creature of mine – so much so that I have included it in THREE of my folklore collections.
It isn’t a commonly known myth and I absolutely LOVE that you folks are giving the old story a new life by naming your undoubtedly tasty wine after it.
But WHY – after coming up with so wonderful a name as Selkie did you go and put a MERMAID on the label?
Okay – so I can hear you rolling your eyes right now, Jost.
I know that you are thinking Steve Vernon is being a picky old sock – but I deal in folklore and legends of the Maritimes – and what I am looking at is a serious misrepresentation.
I don’t hold it against you folks. I still you think the Jost Vineyards make a darn fine product and are a credit to the Maritimes – even if you don’t make beer.
And I likewise admire the artistry of the label design – and I can clearly see some graphic designer put some world-class effort into coming up with your label – but I really wish you would consider going back to the drawing board over the winter and coming up with an equally spiffy label for your Selkie Wine that actually has a for-real honest-to-golly Selkie on it – and NOT a mermaid.
A mermaid has that big fish tail – like you show you on the bottle.
A Selkie is a seal creature and does not look a bit like a mermaid.
Here’s a couple of illustrations from my children’s picture book MARITIME MONSTERS (Nimbus Publishing 2009) to give you a little bit better of an idea of the two mythological creatures.
Both of those illustrations are the work of talented BC artist Jeff Solway– and, as mentioned, come from my children’s picture book Maritime Monsters.
Finally – I am NOT suggesting to anyone that they stop drinking Jost Wine. This just isn’t that big of a deal. All of us Nova Scotia folk ought to support our local industries any way we can – ESPECIALLY if it involves imbibing alcoholic beverages.
yours in storytelling,