There is perhaps no more direct marketing channel available to winemakers than their bottle labels. Each bottle can serve as a message from the vineyard to potential buyers, with the huge variety of options for imagery allowing companies to express their distinct perspectives, no matter what that may entail.
From promoting regional pride to focusing on the type of grapes chosen, there are several different elements of a wine's creation that make great focus points for wine branding. Other vineyards can rely on flashy imagery or classic styling, which isn't directly related to the wine's flavor but gives an indication of its character and quality.
The following are a few spotlighted examples of winemakers opting for bold branding to catch consumers' eyes. They are very different from one another, showing a few of the routes designers can take.
Sometimes, a vineyard's ideal marketing play involves reaching out beyond its own walls and tying the vintage in with an outside icon or brand. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that's the strategy that has powered Wines That Rock, a company that specializes in cross-promotions with musicians. Groups such as The Rolling Stones, The Police and Grateful Dead have signed on to put their names and imagery on bottles of specialized vintages.
Of course, working with these outside artists means labels have to fit specific requirements. Wines That Rock co-founder Ron Roy collaborates with branding experts working for the bands, who sometimes impose imagery guidelines or request that the work of certain artists adorn the bottles. He gained the industry connections during his days in rock merchandising.
Rather than reaching out to third parties to build their wines' appeal, some vineyards put the focus squarely on themselves. Packaging World recently profiled Four Winds Vineyard's strategy, which centers on photos taken around the vineyard itself. Denomination Design CEO Rowena Curlewis told the source that the new photo-based strategy is a replacement for a more "forgettable" series of swirls that gave the wines an 80s feeling instead of the contemporary appeal the vineyard is hoping to project.
Once the designers decided on using photos, they set out to use very minimal design cues for the rest of the packaging. The text on the labels is small and simplified, pushing the eyes to the lush vineyard imagery instead of taking attention for itself.
Getting the right printer
Whether brands opt for illustrations or photos, busy landscapes or minimal imagery, good printers allow designers to express themselves. The Primera LX1000, one such choice, is available from Optimedia in the U.S. or in Canada.