Wine Stories: Behind the Bottle with Layer Cake

There’s a wine on store shelves with a three-tiered chocolate cake on its label that tempts at first glance. Look closer and you’ll see that it’s called Layer Cake and is a Primitivo from Puglia, Italy. Wander a few more aisles, and you might spot the same label in the Australian section, this time a Shiraz from South Australia, and in the American section, a California Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa.

Same label but different wines from different countries. In fact, there are seven Layer Cake wines from five countries on four continents. In addition to the Primitivo, Shiraz, and Cab Sauvignon, there’s an Argentine Malbec from Mendoza, a Garnacha from Calatayud, Spain, plus more Californians, a Chardonnay from Monterey and Santa Barbara, and a Central Coast Pinot Noir.

The back labels offer little information about the wines although each has a tribute from owner/winemaker Jayson Woodbridge to his grandfather, Sicilian-born A. Orlando who “made and enjoyed wine for 80 years.” Orlando believed that the soil where the grapevines grew “were a layer cake, and the wine if properly made, was like a great layer cake” loaded with fruit, mocha, chocolate, spice and more. “And rich, always rich. Never pass up a layer cake,” he said. That’s it. They don’t tell the story of how or why wines from different countries bear the same label.