photo by Elinore Ceballos

Sheng Moua '14 was the winner of a design contest in Professor Michael Leonard's fall illustration course. Her design was selected by winemaker Markus Niggli for the label for "MKBW8872" released this spring by Lodi's Borra Vineyards.

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Pacific News

New Lodi Vintage Features Artwork of Pacific Student

A partnership between Borra Vineyards and Pacific Visual Arts offered an exciting experiential learning opportunity for Pacific students.
May 13, 2013

What do you get when you bring together a winemaker who has an unusual new wine blend to showcase and a classroom of budding illustrators in a Pacific Visual Arts class?

Well, the students got an unusual and challenging learning experience, the winemaker got a bold, artistic wine label for his spring release, "MKBW8872," and the winning artist, graphic design major Sheng Moua '14, nabbed a $300 prize.  

It began when Borra Vineyard's winemaker, Markus Niggli, contacted the Pacific Visual Arts Department last year with an idea for an Artist Series that would feature a student-designed wine label. After speaking with former department chair Professor Lucinda Kasser and Professor Michael Leonard, the competition was born. And Niggli contributed a $300 cash prize to go to the student artist whose design was chosen.  

Niggli introduced the project to the students in Leonard's fall illustration course, providing very little information other than a series of numbers and letters — and that it was a "greenish wine." He said he wanted the pure mindset of the artist. And he wanted something contemporary that would appeal to the Euro market.  

Borra Vineyards' winemaker, Markus Niggli, reviews the designs submitted by students
in Professor Leonard's illustration class


When Niggli reviewed the student's work with Leonard, he was especially impressed by Moua's design.  

"I am very excited to have my artwork chosen for the Borra Vineyards wine label," said Moua. "This project was incredibly valuable. It helped me learn much more about myself as a designer and become more confident in my skills." Moua said she found the project both exciting and challenging and that did extensive research on wine labels before submitting her designs. 

"I have come out of this experience with much more knowledge and understanding about how things work in the real world outside the classroom," Moua said. "I collaborated with Professor Leonard and Niggli through numerous stages of editing, and in the end, we created a very polished, bold and unique design."  The youngest of seven children and the first in her family to attend college, Moua hopes one day to own her own graphic design firm.   

"It was a great opportunity to enhance classroom instruction with practical application," says Leonard, who frequently uses design competition in class projects. "Students have created movie posters and the University's Summer Sessions course catalog covers in the past, and I knew it would be a strong competition with lots of talent."  

Niggli said the collaboration was a great success and plans to make it an annual event. Borra Vineyards, owned by Steve and Christine '93 Borra, is located on Armstrong Road in Lodi. To find out more about the collaboration and the origin of the name "MKBW8872," visit the Borra Vineyard Blog.