John Powers, owner of Bellingham, Wash.'s Chuckanut Ridge Wine Co., said the Bad Bunny name naturally followed from the artwork on the label, used for a 2006 Cab-Merlot blend from the Yakima Valley.
More Bugsy Siegel than Bugs Bunny, the tobacco-smoking rabbit is the work of Bellingham painter and printmaker Thomas Wood.
Powers is a fan of Wood's strange yet whimsical work, and following a custom of using the work of Northwest artists on Chuckanut Ridge's labels, Powers asked Wood if he would allow the image of the smoking hare to be used on bottles.
"Some artists are apprehensive, and others are almost insulted," Powers said of artists he's approached. But Wood was enthusiastic.
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Wood's bunny has been used for a Chuckanut red blend since a 2003 bottling. And although not Chuckanut's top seller, the artwork and name attract a lot of sales in stores, Powers said.
Wood's artwork has also been used on a label for a white blend. Bunny Le Blanc is "a more rotund female version of the Bad Bunny," Powers said. Releases of that particular wine have sold out. Powers does plan to bring that wascally wabbit back at some point.
Editor's note: Nom De Vine is a new feature in Wine Press Northwest that explores the story of how some of the Northwest's more oddly labeled wines and wineries got their names. Wondering about a name? Send your suggestions to Jon Bauer at firstname.lastname@example.org