Internationally recognised United States illustrator, Steven Noble gives some insight into the brilliance behind the stunning and brand-new The Black Lion Shiraz label illustration. In this interview we get to know the Master Craftsman behind this bespoke label and the inspiration behind this piece of art…  

As an artist, what are you best known for?  

About 29 years ago, I started my career specializing and mastering the art of scratchboard engraving and woodcutting. That was in 1991. Since then, I have differentiated myself to be renowned for using this technique to craft various design commissions for clients around the globe.  

What inspired your label design for The Black Lion? 

The history and heritage behind the De Toren story inspired endless creativity. I had so much symbolism to draw from to create this highly intricate design, which is notable for its rich content – much like the wine. I hope that people who see the new packaging will be equally fascinated by the detail. 

What techniques did you use to produce this artwork? 

Due to De Toren wines being handcrafted, I decided to apply the same level of craftsmanship to this opulent The Black Lion illustration. I used an X-Acto knife for my trademark scratchboard technique. Initially, I prepared a meticulously detailed preliminary sketch that I could trace onto the surface of a clayboard. Following this, I had to improvise to achieve the right amount of shading and detail required for the final product.  

What are the key elements of this artwork? 

If you look carefully, you will be able to identify symbols that reference the history of the estate, the vision of the shareholders and, of course, the wines. All of these are worked into the outline of the face and mane of a majestic Cape Lion, which in turn inspired the name, The Black Lion. Can you spot the Helderberg mountain range, which provides a backdrop to the estate? What about Table Mountain and False Bay? 

How do you think people will react to this design? 

I hope that those who admire the label as much as they do the wine will get a sense of pride in the place, the heritage…This ultra-lavish The Black Lion wine emanates from ancient soils – uniquely South African, unquestionably 100% Shiraz. And just as the Cape Lion possessed raw power and elegance so too does this new label design. 

The team effort has been an incredible journey and working alongside such a talented artist has been inspiring. Onto the next exciting project with Steven, completing the crafting of the new, sensational Book XVII label.  

We introduce the dawn of a new era at De Toren

Secure you’re the Black Lion 2019 & unique bottle number today

Introducing our new look & an evolution of the De Toren logo