Wine X Online Edition
Laura Runge has been on my long list of people to catch up with when it finally became COVID-appropriate. I made good on that promise this week, and I know you’ll love her cool story because, well, cool is cool, right? Since it’s Christmas and we’re all scrambling to find whatever is in stock, I thought I’d get this out now as a win-win for all of you who are trying to score a gift for your fellow oenophile who already has everything.
Laura isn’t a household name, but her claim to wine fame is. The Thanksgiving before COVID hit, there’s a good chance that Laura’s work was on your table. More than a million bottles of the 2019 George Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau featured her painting Joyous Crush.
What you may not know about that celebrated label, which changes from year to year, is that the selection process is quite rigorous, and it draws the best of the best from over 600 artists each year. It’s also an agonizing, long process. “When I got the call, I was ready for a letdown because there were so many incredible artists in the running. And after a little dramatic tease, I was told that I was the winner. I was in complete shock – It was an absolute dream come true,” Laura shared.
If you want to learn about the contest, click here.
As I toured her Dallas studio, I wasn’t at all surprised that her work drew the attention of Georges Duboeuf. Her abstract painting style has an inviting familiarity combined with a kaleidoscope affect that draws you into zone after zone of each piece. It’s as if there is movement and energy.
Laura’s work focuses on positive movement, the celebration of life, and connection. It’s rooted in her own story. She dedicated sixteen years to Southwest Airlines as a communications leader, running alongside the airline during many of their great triumphs. “No doubt, that was a really fun time of my life. We had a purpose, and we were doing great things every day for our employees and our customers. So, I tried to capture that feeling in my words, just like I capture the emotions in my art.”
Laura is also a breast cancer survivor and marathon runner, two things that probably have more in common than not. “The wine label win came as I was celebrating my twentieth year of cancer survivorship. The fact that this significant milestone in my life converged with the holiday season which I love passionately and the release of the Duboeuf wines that represent celebrating with friends and family was truly the honor of a lifetime.”
“I’m fascinated with wine and how it is a celebration of life. One of my new series is an exploration of Champagne, the bottle, the pop, the pour, and all of the joy around the moment. It’s probably hard to think about the last twenty-four months and relate them to champagne, but it feels like every day gets us a lot closer to a celebration. I want my work to be one of the things that draws households, corporate offices, and wine bars, and wherever people gather much closer to that celebration. Just perhaps give us all a little push back toward joy, if you know what I mean.”
As we talked and toured the studio, what struck me as amazing…. And something I want to share with Wine X’s readers….. is how unbelievably affordable her work is. Smaller pieces can be had for under $100, and her largest, most elaborate paintings are just barely into the thousands. Laura also accepts commissioned work without a premium over her canvas rates. So, here’s my call out to anyone who might need a cool Christmas gift….. what’s cooler than giving someone an original artwork, not a print, mind you, from a celebrated wine label artist? It’s like a little piece of history, shared and enjoyed. Go check out her gallery here: LAURA RUNGE ONLINE or check out her Instagram
Like many stories that were worth telling but had the great misfortune of unfolding as we all dealt with the uncertainties of COVID, Laura’s work was celebrated but then bookmarked to return to on another day. I’m glad we had the time to come back to it and bring it back to our wine lover community for you all to enjoy.