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Press Release

Then and Now: Fresh Northwest Design Celebrates the 140th Anniversary of the Wine Bottle

Hand-Etched and Painted Wine Bottle Tour Debuts at Waterfront Seafood Grill

SEATTLE, Wash. —(January 19, 2007) — In 1867, during excavation at a vineyard in Speyer, Germany, a Roman stone sarcophagus was unearthed and found to contain a greenish-yellow amphora, to date the oldest known sealed glass bottle of wine.

Fast forward to Seattle 140 years later, a city known for its fine glass art and fine wines. At the region's premier wine bottle art studio, Fresh Northwest Design (FNWD), wine bottles of all sizes are hand-etched and painted. The resulting glass art is often displayed as commemoratives at black-tie events or sold with in-demand wines at charity auctions.

To celebrate the 140th anniversary of the discovery of the world's oldest bottle of wine, FNWD has put its impressive collection of glass art on display. More than one hundred finely decorated bottles in a full range of sizes, including standard bottles (750 ml), Magnums (1.5L), Salmanazars (9L) and Primats (27L), will be sent on tour throughout the Northwest.

Every single bottle represents on average at least 7 hours of work by an artist from FNWD’s Gig Harbor studio. The display will include some of the best from their 18-year history, such as:


Cayuse Flying Pig BottleBionic Frog Bottle

Most Time Consuming: Cayuse Flying Pig and Bionic Frog.

These bottles take several weeks in production because of the many different colors, painting techniques and multiple levels of sand blasting. 

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Most Expensive:  The Sun Valley Wine Auction Lot. Typically, the Sun Valley Lot is a set of 6.0L bottles depicting a single panoramic view of Sun Valley across all of the bottles, each hand-painted individually by an artist. The 2006 lot of bottles was, for the first time, comprised exclusively of Washington wines and sold for an all-time high of $72,000. The 1994 Lot will be on display.

L’Ecole No. 41 (School House)

Most Intricate: L’Ecole No. 41 (School House). This bottle is triple sandblasted, put through an additional process known as brayering and finally, hand painted. 

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Cult Wine: Grace Family Vineyards. Grace is a highly sought-after, but very difficult to attain, Napa Valley wine with no more than 600 bottles produced annually. Paper labels never touch Grace Family wine bottles. Instead, every single Grace Family bottle is hand-etched, 23 karat gold-leafed by FNWD and inscribed with a unique number.


Waterfront Seafood Grill, with its sparkling Pier 70 location offering a singular view of the new Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park, has been chosen as the first stop for this art tour. Not only has the restaurant's 400-bottle cellar been honored with five Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine, but Seattle Times wine columnist Paul Gregutt has named Waterfront as "Best Place for Wine Dinners."

“We are honored to help launch this celebration of a very essential item - the wine bottle,” says Waterfront General Manager Christian Sparkman. “To be able to see the artistry of Fresh Northwest Design inside, and the artistry of the Olympic Sculpture Park and Mother Nature outside – well, that just makes a night with us even more special.”

There is no charge for the exhibit, which began on January 18. From Waterfront, the display moves to Taste Washington Seattle in April. In May it will travel to El Gaucho in Portland for Oregon Wine Month, then will return to Tacoma before heading to wine country in Eastern Washington.

Fresh Northwest Design custom designs, etches and hand-paints wine bottles for wineries, corporations, schools, charitable events and other organizations. From their studio in Gig Harbor, Wash., highly skilled artisans use specialized techniques to produce high quality glass artistry for businesses throughout North America.

Contact: Scott Schoenen, Owner
Phone number: 253-857-5300