Text production indexes a set of values as semiotics are utilized to market gastronomic products. These values are referenced through the language used, various font styles and sizes, and the food being promoted. The Basque Country has become a “Culinary nation,” world-renowned for its unique culture and gastronomy. This paper looks at how semiotics are used to create value in marketing locally-made wine and cider. A ubiquitously seen Basque font is used for both cider and wine to reference traditional components of Basque culture, while font size on Rioja Alavesa wine labels stresses the distinction between neighboring regions. The use of language alongside font style and size are part of a system that simultaneously indexes political, social, and linguistic affinities. By looking at how and where semiotics are manipulated to create meaning, value can be increased or even decreased for both the product and the Basque language alike.

About the Author

Kerri Lesh

Dr. Kerri Lesh currently teaches for the Department of Anthropology as well as the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her areas of specialization are Basque and indigenous language and culture, gastronomy, and culinary tourism. Dr. Lesh also holds a certificate from the Gender, Race, and Identity program at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is also a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), which both complement here areas of research.


M.A. University of Kansas, Education/Curriculum & Instruction (Spanish and ESOL)

Ph.D. University of Nevada, Reno; Basque Studies (Cultural & Linguistic Anthropology)